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Visit to Keele University’s smart energy network demonstrator site

Mike Bourke

27 Feb 2024

A joint visits by SSCA, ZCS and Shropshire Council staff and elected members

On the 27 February Mike Bourke (Stretton Climate Care/SSCA) and David Matthews (Zero Carbon Shropshire) visited Keele University together with five elected members of Shropshire Council’s Climate and Carbon Reduction Advisory Group and four council officers (the Assistant Director Commercial Services, the Climate Change Manager, the Communications Officer and the Video, Photography and Digital Content Officer). This followed a visit the previous week by Shropshire Council’s planning officers.

Professor Trevor McMillan, the Vice-Chancellor, stressed the importance to the University of partnerships with local and regional industries and Councils in developing technical and community responses to the climate crisis. The Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND) offers a practical model and research facility, backed by student courses and educational programmes (“from Skills Bootcamps to PhD’s”) to assist the development of policies and the training of apprentices and the existing workforce. The University is able to serve as an honest broker, independent of commercial or political agendas, to promote co-operation between interested parties and the general public and is already working with Staffordshire Council, and Rugeley and Dudley.

Professor Zoe Robinson, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures, elaborated on these collaborations. Matt Dean, SEND Research and Innovation Manager, and Julian Read, Partnership Development  Manager, described the Energy Park with its solar array, wind turbines and industrial battery, the relationship with the National Grid, and the associated Green Hydrogen production unit.

The Shropshire delegation undertook to report back to their colleagues and explore opportunities. They welcomed Keele’s statement that “We have the staff, the students and the funding to help you”.

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