Utrecht University wants to contribute as much as possible to the energy transition and set an inspiring example for others. The university aims to be CO2 neutral by 2030. Reducing one's own energy consumption, making good use of energy and the transition to a sustainable energy supply are important factors in achieving this goal.
Wind energy is an effective way of generating green electricity. Utrecht University is therefore conducting exploratory research into the possibility of generating its own wind energy in the Utrecht Science Park.
The first research results
The first technical research results show that one location, near the Olympos Sports Centre, seems to be unfit. The other location along the highway A28, close to the Rijnsweerd junction, seems to be able to meet all environmental standards such as noise, cast shadow and safety. Moreover, this location is far enough away from the nearest existing residential development of Rijnsweerd-Zuid. At this location there is potential space for 1 large windmill. The university is still doing a lot of research here. For example, into the possible effects of the wind turbine on scientific research equipment. The results of this research are not yet known.
What preceded the research
In an initial exploration in 2018, a broad inventory was carried out, in which various types of wind turbines - large, smaller and innovative - were investigated. This revealed two potentially suitable locations for wind turbines in the northwest corner of the Utrecht Science Park. At the end of 2019, the Executive Board decided to have a study carried out at these locations in 2020/2021 into the financial and technical feasibility of two wind turbines and to investigate whether there is sufficient support for wind energy among our stakeholders in the USP.
Making an inventory of the wishes of the surrounding area within the USP environmental vision
The feasibility study is part of the process of creating the Environmental Vision USP. Together with UMC Utrecht and Utrecht University, the municipality of Utrecht is investigating how residents and businesses think about possible sustainable solutions in the USP. Wind energy will be included as a possible solution in the realisation of the Environmental Vision USP. The first steps have already been taken with a survey, the first USP lab and the theme session Visibly sustainable and gas-free. The second USP lab is scheduled for February 2021.
The university will have additional discussions with stakeholders. It will map out the possible concerns, wishes and advice of these stakeholders as well as possible and include these in the feasibility study.
With one large wind turbine we could meet 20-25% of our electricity needs. But that really is something of the future. There is still a long way to go before we can realise it. The feasibility study will run until the second quarter of 2021. At the end of 2021, the Utrecht City Council will decide whether it wants to make room in the USP for wind energy.
The wind desk: for answers to questions
Interested parties who, after reading the frequently asked questions, have other questions about the research that Utrecht University is doing into the feasibility of a wind turbine in the Utrecht Science Park, can send an e-mail to Jolt Oostra, portfolio manager energy at Utrecht University.