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Blue sky thinking to power BT’s research HQ

Press Release   •   Sep 22, 2014 00:00 BST

New solar farm contract will support power requirements for 
BT’s Adastral Park technology campus 

BT today announced a £26 million deal with UK Sustainable Energy Ltd (UK-SE) to take 100 per cent of the green energy generated by UK-SE’s new solar farm near Ipswich, Suffolk, to help power BT’s Adastral Park research campus for the next 20 years. 

The agreement, believed to be the UK’s biggest dedicated private scheme, will see Adastral Park, BT’s main research and development site at Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, take a massive 8MW of power from the newly developed solar site at Brightwell by the end of the year. BT’s commitment to the Power Purchase Agreement has ensured that this new solar farm can be built. 

The solar farm covers 16 hectares, equivalent to around 40 football pitches, and contains more than 32,500 solar panels. 

Dr Tim Whitley, BT’s head of research, and managing director of Adastral Park said: “As a leading technology centre for the UK, we have a responsibility to find innovative ways of reducing our environmental impact. This contract represents another great step in reinforcing our sustainable energy plans for the park and BT. This agreement will mean that the solar farm will supply up to 90 per cent of site demand on sunny summer days.” 

This is only one of the measures being taken to minimise the environmental impact of the park, which besides hosting BT’s globally-recognised research labs, is increasingly seen as a successful technology cluster. More than 60 high-tech companies are now based at Adastral Park, with more than 4000 people located on the site. 

BT itself is a major consumer of electricity in the UK, using around two Terawatt hours (Twh) in 2013/2014. It has reduced the energy needed to run its business for five consecutive years, cumulatively saving more than £131 million in energy costs. 

This large-scale, long-term agreement is a vote of confidence in the UK renewable energy and supports BT’s continued commitment to securing all its electricity from renewable sources. 

BT recently installed a smaller solar array at Adastral Park to generate some of its own green electricity, which will be used to supplement the Brightwell output, and measures to reduce the impact of food waste and road transport for workers at the site are also being implemented. A wormery is being installed which will naturally recycle food waste generated by the on-site restaurant, and BT is encouraging technologists on site to consider green transport options, as well as providing charging points for electric cars. 

Don Lord CEO of UK Sustainable Energy (UK-SE) said: "This is the largest dedicated private wire solar project anywhere in the UK with vast environmental benefits and reduced energy costs for BT. It is testament to BT's willingness to engage and work with smaller businesses and gives credibility for future zero cost solar farms to corporates." 

On September 23, BT will host an electric vehicle awareness day on-site to showcase the very latest EVs to the 4,000 people working at the park, enabling them to try out the technology for themselves. This includes cutting-edge electric cars such as the BMW i8 and i3, Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf. 

The day will also outline the facilities available for EV charging, alongside public transport options for those based on-site. BT first installed charging posts at the park in 2008 and in 2012 installed charging infrastructure in the car park for visitors’ use. 

Andrew Cassy, Adastral Park Better Future Champion, said: “All these measures demonstrate our commitment to making the park as environmentally friendly as possible. With the size of the park and the number of people here, we have a real chance to make a major impact.” 

ENDS 

Notes to Editors 

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. BT is committed to putting responsible and sustainable business at the heart of its operations. BT’s 2020 goal is to help customers reduce carbon emissions by at least three times the end to end carbon impact of its business. 
For further information visit www.bt.com/betterfuturereport 

Enquiries about this news release should be made to the BT Group Newsroom on its 24-hour number: 020 7356 5369. From outside the UK dial + 44 20 7356 5369. All news releases can be accessed at our web site: http://www.btplc.com/News 


About UK-SE 
UK-SE are a developer of bespoke renewable energy solutions specialising in the delivery of zero capital cost solutions to commercial and industrial facilities nationwide. Their client list includes numerous national and global organisations. UKSE formed in 2008 with the government funded National Renewable Energy Centre and has operated independently since 2010 delivering millions of pounds of energy and carbon savings to their clients. Employing engineers, surveyors and carbon consultants UKSE have advised on energy standards at a UK and international level. UK-SE are based at St Peter's Basin, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. 
For more information visit www.uk-se.com or call Don Lord + 44 (0) 191 265 5634 Twitter @UKsustenergy 
Media Contact for UKSE: Claire Barber at Claire Barber PR claire@clairebarber.com 07885 965749. Interviews available.