A Newcastle energy firm has secured a £26m contract to provide BT with power for its key UK research facility.
St Peters Basin-based UK Sustainable Energy (UK-SE) Ltd has stuck a lucrative deal with BT to supply the telecoms giant with power for its Adastral Park research campus in Suffolk.
The energy solutions firm, which was originally formed in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Centre, will supply Adastral Park with all of its power for the next 20 years.
UK-SE will supply 8MW of power from its newly developed solar site at Brightwell which is 16 hectares - the equivalent to around 40 football pitches.
The firm also has £425m worth of funds available for other solar projects and is hoping to encourage North East firms with high energy consumption to take advantage of sustainable power at low rates.
Chief executive Don Lord said: “This is the largest dedicated private wire solar project anywhere in the United Kingdom and it is testament to BT’s willingness to engage and work with smaller business. From UK-SE’s perspective, this project has given us the credibility to roll out zero cost solar farms to many other UK and North East corporates which is undoubtedly a positive for the region with vast environmental benefits.
“We look to help both small and large businesses by providing a no obligation analysis of a company’s half hourly energy data (electricity and gas), which gives enough information to understand the opportunities for alternative energy sources and ways to save money for that business.”
Farooq Hakim, BT’s regional director for the North East, added: “Today’s announcement is great news. Not only has BT signed a deal with will reduce our impact on the environment but they have signed that deal with a company based here in Newcastle.
“With more than 4,000 employees living and working in the region it’s important that we support local businesses where we can and continue to contribute to the success of the North East.”
Speaking further about UK-SE’s £425m fund, Mr Lord said he hoped further solar farm developments would not only benefit North East firms, but would generate construction and supply chain jobs in the process.
UK-SE will support deals between £5m and £15m with firms, subcontracting the development and installation of solar farms.
The Walker firm currently employs five people but Mr Lord anticipated growing the workforce in the coming months.
He added: “We’ve successfully completed other projects from Cornwall to Galashiels. For investors this is an extremely solid opportunity, and for the companies it means cheaper energy. So far the model has generally been described as a no brainer by most.
“This fund will be about establishing the right locations for solar farms. Because we tend to supply to companies with high energy consumption, most of the developments will take shape on industrial land.”