In Canada, Trent University has selected Ameresco to implement a smart energy project to optimise energy management and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Trent University will deploy energy efficiency mechanisms and a battery energy storage system to reduce energy costs and contribute to the stability of the provincial grid.
Energy efficiency solutions will include LEDs and smart ventilation systems to reduce operational and energy costs and maximize the performance of an onsite solar energy generator set to be installed.
The solar energy system will provide the university with affordable energy and clean energy for emissions reductions. The system will feed a 2.5MW/5MWh battery storage system which will be used to meet energy demand when solar generation is low and consumption high.
The battery will also store electricity from the provincial grid during the day when supply is stable for use during peak demand when tariffs are high and the grid is strained. The battery system will power the university’s electric vehicle charging network.
The project will commence this year and is expected to result in a reduction in Global Adjustment fees of over $1 million annually.
Trent University is also embarking on transport electrification and the decarbonisation of energy generation and energy management utilisation, all vital tools for the energy transition and carbon neutrality.
“One of the amazing things about working with customers on projects like these is finding energy-saving solutions that work for them and generate significant cost savings in the long run,” said Bob McCullough, President, Ameresco Canada. “By taking a collaborative approach right from the start, we can work together to develop solutions that prioritize sustainability and durability.”
An increasing amount of universities have embarked on projects aimed at optimizing their energy savings, as calls for energy sustainability intensify to address climate change.
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In early September, Siemens was selected by the University of Birmingham to deploy smart technologies at UK and Dubai tertiary campuses. The project includes the integration of digital sensors, AI, machine learning, renewable energy generation and storage to maximize energy savings, ensure energy security and reduce the university’s carbon footprint.
The University of Birmingham says the project enables the creation of the smartest campuses in the world.
Universities are also proving they are an important element in speeding up the energy transition and digital transformation of the utility sector. More breakthrough energy solutions are being developed in partnership with academia and utilities are establishing innovation hubs at or with tertiary institutions.
For example, the Enel Foundation established a new scientific and technological innovation hub at the University of California, Berkeley.
Alessandra Lanzara, head of CSMI, Professor of Physics at UC Berkeley, said by collaborating on technology research and development researchers from Enel and Italian and US universities will “solve some of the most pressing sustainable development goals around materials design and the circular economy”.
Spanish multinational Iberdrola also launched the Global Smart Grids Innovation hub at which university students and researchers will partner with utilities to explore how smart meters, 5G networks, the Internet of Things and smart city solutions can be used to reduce the environmental impact of electrical infrastructures.