239 Views

Caroline Lucas Switches on 3,000 Solar Panels Across Campus

On Friday 13 October Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion,  switched on 3,000 newly installed solar panels. Ms Lucas was assisted by Jolyon Western, a Student Life Advisor, and Anna Watson, a PhD student, who both entered a competition to take part in the switch on.

The solar panel project is the biggest of its kind in the UK and is estimated to satisfy 5% of Sussex’s energy needs. The University estimates that this is enough energy to ‘power the University’s library for 12 months.’.

The University ‘aims to nearly halve its carbon emissions by 2020.’ and the solar panels are one of the first steps towards achieving this goal. The project cost an estimated £1.5 million. The Estates Team also aims to cut waste and announced its ambition to eliminate ‘23 tonnes’ of waste produced by disposable paper towels across campus. They estimate that 8 million of these towels are used on campus every year and are installing new energy- efficient hand dryers. They are also carrying out a survey on the dryers and are taking responses until 31st October.

The event was followed by a Q&A and panel discussion involving Lucas, Professor Selby, Professor Joseph Alcamo, Director of the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme, Dr Florian Kern, co-Director of Sussex Energy Group, and Simon Neale. Sussex alumnus Leo Hickman chaired the discussion.

The discussion focussed on changing the energy industry as a whole, climate change, emissions and national university efforts to become more sustainable. Caroline Lucas, for example, commented that too many resources were being focussed on Brexit, detracting from other policy areas, such as the environment.

One question put to the panel was: “Is Trump actually a good thing for the environment”. Lucas answered that Trump’s impacts now are hopefully less than they would have been decades ago and that sometimes it takes a ‘big bad figure’ to encourage mobilisation. However, Lucas also pointed to a ‘fifty percent’ decrease in the cost of offshore wind power, suggesting that it should be better utilized. She also drew attention to the issue of funding for developing countries, which could allow them to ‘leapfrog the dirtiest technology’ and produce ‘cleaner’ energy from the start.

Other panel members talked about the unsustainable nature of the coal industry, in more than one sense. The panel pointed out that subsidies may be necessary to prop up the industry in the future.

Caroline Lucas had to leave the discussion early due to undisclosed commitments. Unfortunately, this meant she was unable to answer any questions from the audience. The panel continued and discussed the need for better battery storage for renewables, how widespread they are and the domination of the energy industry by ‘The Big 6’.  

One audience member had just enough time to challenge the panel on the University’s divestment from fossil fuels. Sussex had already committed to divestment after a student campaign by ‘Fossil Free Sussex’ but has since provided few details on the matter. She commented that, in the recent People and Planet University League Tables, Brighton University ranked second but Sussex ranked 81st, a large decline. She also criticised the lack of visibility of the University’s new ‘Go Greener’ initiative, the slogan being visible on posters around the event room, and said: “You have to really dig to find out” about it.

Simon Neale attempted to answer the question on behalf of the university. He said that the University is due to elaborate on its divestment plans in the current weeks but stated that the University still relies heavily on fossil fuel energy to power the campus. He also added that the 3,000 solar panels are a step towards sustainability and also added that there may be financial benefits for the university. Mr Neale also told the audience that the University Communications Team are aiming to improve their communication across the university. He also mentioned a ‘real-time information’ web page showing statistics on the new solar panels and said it would be easily accessible on the website in the coming weeks.

Other panel members were more critical, stating the University needs to do more in order to achieve its sustainability targets. They also suggested that the higher education sector as a whole needs to take more action. Especially so, as emissions do not stop at the edge of campus and university transport has a large environmental impact.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
503 views1
Campus News
503 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
37 views
Arts
37 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
83 views
Arts
83 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
88 views
Arts
88 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
111 views
Arts
111 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
132 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
144 views
Arts
144 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
137 views
Arts
137 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
216 views
Campus News
216 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
101 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
203 views
Arts
203 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
134 views
Arts
134 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
210 views
Artist Focus
210 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
143 views
Interview
143 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…

Adam review
Arts
212 views
Arts
212 views

Adam review

Ketan Jha - May 13, 2018

If you have been a stranger to the stage this spring and decide to see one contemporary show, let it be Adam. This reviewer went in entirely…

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
233 views
Arts
233 views

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 13, 2018

In celebration of iconic Brighton local, legendary alt-rock musician (and episodic actor) Nick Cave, TOM’s Film Club are hosting a double-bill screening of his films at The…

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review
Arts
273 views
Arts
273 views

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review

Georgia Grace - May 11, 2018

Meta-theatricality and interactivity are becoming all the more vogue in contemporary theatre, and in a world where the arts are becoming increasingly open and democratised, I find…

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks
Artist Focus
189 views
Artist Focus
189 views

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks

Alex Leissle - May 9, 2018

  [gallery type="slideshow" ids="35385,35386,35387,35388,35389,35390,35391,35392,35393,35394,35395,35396,35397,35398,35399,35400,35401,35402,35403,35404,35405,35406,35407,35408,35409,35410,35411"]

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival
Books
194 views
Books
194 views

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival

William Singh - May 9, 2018

Afua Hirsch’s 2018 book - part memoir, part polemic - provokes mixed feelings. So too did her discussion of the topic at this year’s Brighton Festival. Don’t…

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality
Science
249 views
Science
249 views

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality

Luke Richards - May 8, 2018

Bioweapons exist, while ethnic-bioweapons are whispered conspiracies. Pandemics can fairly hazardous to human life, the 1918 Flu Pandemic killed 20-50 million people. A man made pandemic could…

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced
News
259 views
News
259 views

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced

Jessica Hubbard - May 4, 2018

Students have voted to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, reject Prevent and adopt new Gender Equality policies. Results for the Students' Union referenda were…