Energy and greenhouse
UTS has one of the most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets of any Australian university - to reduce emissions 30% by 2020/21 based on 2007 levels. To help achieve this we have embarked on a program of energy saving and transitioning to renewable energy.
We all know that solar power is good for the planet.
But did you know that NSW is one of the best places in Australia to benefit from solar?
Homes, businesses and industry here use a lot of electricity and we have many sun-filled wide-open spaces that are perfect for solar farms.
Because solar power is cheap to make but currently expensive to store, it’s more efficient when peak generation matches peak demand
In NSW, demand peaks in the heat of summer. It’s at its highest on hot afternoons when air conditioning is switched on and turned up.
This is also the best time to turn sunshine into electricity, as it’s when solar panels can generate the most power.
Yet we currently only make around 5% of our energy from solar and import up to a quarter of our energy from other states.
New solar farms could increase local generation capacity, reducing our reliance on imports.
We also need to start planning for the retirement of our ageing coal power plants, like the Liddell Power Station in the Hunter Valley.
With more solar we can start to phase out less sustainable methods of energy production.
It can also help to improve operation of the electricity grid and reduce power prices for everyone.
But building large-scale solar farms needs significant start-up investment
That’s where high energy users like UTS can make an impact. As a large organisation, we can use our purchasing power to provide certainty to new solar projects and make sure they get built.
We were the first university to kick-start a new solar project through an offsite-solar Power Purchase Agreement and our commitment to the 32 megawatt Walgett Solar Farm is making it a reality.
This solar farm will produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of 9,600 NSW homes.
UTS also has partnerships with solar farms in Singleton and Orange in regional NSW.
As well as on-site solar across our campus.
Sustainability and innovation are in the DNA of UTS. By putting our money where our mouth is, through investing in solar infrastructure and purchasing solar energy, we can help new initiatives get off the ground.
Even better, our sustainability initiatives are saving on energy costs as well as reducing our emissions.
A win-win - for UTS, for NSW and the planet.
We are investing in renewable energy, installing solar panels on our own city rooftops, as well as contracting directly with solar farms in regional NSW. Our goal is to demonstrate leadership in urban solar and renewable energy contracting, to be a leader among Australian universities. We have signed a contract for a new $40 million solar farm in Walgett in regional NSW, due to start construction soon. So far our projects include;
|INSTALLATION||NUMBER OF PANELS||CAPACITY||DATE|
|Building 11 roof top||72 panels||21.6 kw||2014|
|Also on Building 11||Solar thermal technology||10 kw||2014|
|Singleton solar farm, stage 2||3,333 panels||200 kw||Contract with XYZ solar|
|Orange solar farm||242 panels||60 kw||Contract with Pentagon Generation, 2017|
|Yura Mudang student housing, Building 6||86 panels||28 kw||2017|
|Building 4||224 panels||73 kw||2017|
|Aerial Function Centre, Building 10||426 panels||127 kw||2017|
|Total capacity so far||4383 panels||519.6 kw||2014-2017|
Fade into pan up of UTS Building 11 and UTS Tower building fade to black.
Fade in: text overlay; “The UTS Solar Journey” on time lapse of clouds reflected on UTS Building 8.
Drone footage of a solar farm in Singleton. Text overlay; “90% of UTS greenhouse gas emissions are from electricity. To help achieve our greenhouse gas reduction targets we’re transitioning to renewable energy. See our projects so far…” Text fades to text overlay; “Singleton Solar Farm. Panels: 3,333. Capacity: 200kW. Contract with XYZ solar: 2015.” Fade to black.
Fade in: a graph of the typical daily production of Orange Solar Farm in kW/h accompanied by text; “Orange Solar Farm. Panels: 242. Capacity: 60kW. Contract with Pentagon Generation: 2017.”
Fade to close up of solar panels on Building 11. Text overlay; “Building 11. Panels: 72. Capacity: 21.6kW. Installed: 2014.”
Building 11’s solar thermal panels rotating to face the sun. Text overlay; “Building 11. Solar Thermal. 10kW. Installed: 2014”
Low angle perspective of solar panels on the rooftop of Yura Mudang student housing, with men in high vis clothing climbing down a ladder onto the roof. Text overlay: “Yura Mudang – building 6. Panels: 86. Capacity: 28kW. Installed: 2017”
Pan down the length of the roof of Yura Mudang’s solar installation and up to the UTS tower.
Pan of building 4’s solar installation with some men in high vis clothing climbing up a ladder onto the roof. Text overlay; “Building 4. Panels: 224. Capacity: 73kW. Installed: 2017.”
Distant shot zooming out from the roof of building 4.
Men lifting solar panels and using power drills to install them. Text overlay; “Aerial Function Centre – Building 10. Panels: 426. Capacity: 127kW. Installation: 2017”
Zoom down completed solar installation on the roof of the Aerial Function Centre. Fade to black.
Fade into static wide shot of solar panels and wind turbine on the roofs of UTS building 11 and building 10. Text overlay, “So Far Total Capacity. Panels: 4383. Capacity: 620kW. 2014-2017.”
Close up of wind turbine and pan down the side of UTS Building 11. Fade to black.
Text fade in; “Our goal is to demonstrate leadership in urban solar and renewable energy contracting.”
Fade in wide shot of UTS building 11 and UTS tower building. Fade to black.
Text fade in; “More to come… Watch this space.”
We recently invested $9 million to improve energy efficiency of existing buildings including:
- New sensor lighting switching off automatically when rooms are empty
- New energy efficient light fittings and bulbs, including LEDs
- New energy management software to help better manage energy demand
- Air-conditioning upgrades, including switching from electricity to gas with a lower carbon footprint
- Behaviour change programs to encourage students and staff to get involved though ‘switch-off’ campaigns, Earth Hour, and similar events
- Upgraded lifts and escalators in older buildings
The UTS 2013-21 Energy and Greenhouse Plan (pdf) provides more detail on current actions.
Ways you can help
- Turn off computers and monitors at the end of the day or when not in use
- Choose natural light as much as possible, only turn on lights when necessary
- Switch off lights as you leave empty rooms
- Take the stairs instead of the lift
- Choose CFL and LED bulbs for desk lamps
- Turn off all machinery and lab or kitchen equipment when not in use
- Don’t boil an entire kettle for one cup
- Report faulty lighting and equipment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Spread the word to friends and colleagues about not wasting energy.