UK opens InTEGReL research centre in bid to develop zero carbon energy network
The UK’s Northern Gas Networks (NGN) has unveiled a £30mn (US$39.8mn) research centre designed to help develop a fully-integrated, zero carbon energy network.
Based in Gateshead, Newcastle, InTEGReL (Integrated Transport Electricity Gas Research Laboratory) is the first of its kind in the country and will seek to pool leading academic and engineering knowledge.
The teams will work to deliver breakthroughs in the decarbonisation of heat, energy storage and transport, the principal aim being to identify the most affordable and practical solution to moving customers onto low carbon, low cost energy.
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Mark Horsley, CEO of NGN, said: “We are delighted to open InTEGReL which we see as another step forward in our work towards a zero carbon energy future. The site will bring together the best and brightest in this field and encourage the big thinking that is required if we are to secure, affordable, low carbon energy future.
The site will be operated in collaboration with Northern Powergrid and Newcastle University, in partnership with the EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration
Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, added: “The InTEGReL project demonstrates how the private sector – working with the UK’s world class higher education sector – can take a leading role in helping Britain reach our 2050 emission reduction target.”
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.