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Unite Students Signs Power Purchase Agreement with npower – 29 April 2021

28 April 2021


Unite Students signs deal to deliver a fifth of its annual electricity from renewable wind power

  • 20% of Unite Students annual electricity throughout its 173 properties to be supplied by renewable wind power
  • Unite Students is the first purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) provider in the UK to sign a power purchase agreement
  • Agreement takes Unite Students a step closer to being net-carbon zero by 2030

Unite Students, the UK’s largest provider of student accommodation, has signed a deal guaranteeing a fifth of its annual electricity will be sourced from renewable wind power for the next five years.

The ground-breaking deal is the first of its kind in the UK’s PBSA sector and is one of the first steps in Unite Students becoming net-zero carbon by 2030.

The power purchase agreement (PPA) between Unite Students and npower will see 20 per cent of the student accommodation provider’s electricity supply come from renewable wind power produced by Ventient Energy.

The new agreement means power will be provided to Unite Students from the Galawhistle windfarm in South Lanarkshire, Scotland.  All of the electricity Unite Students buys is already backed by Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin Certificates (REGOs), but this PPA goes beyond that to create an even stronger link back to the source, and forms part of Unite Students’ commitment to becoming net-zero carbon in both operation and construction.

In early 2021, Unite Students announced five overarching sustainability commitments, which includes its aim to become net-zero carbon.

The PPA came into effect on 1 April 2021. It is an important step in decarbonising Unite Student’s energy supply which, together with a strong focus on improving energy efficiency across its existing buildings, and reducing the embodied carbon of new developments, are key to achieving its net-zero carbon commitment. Unite Students is also actively looking at how to further decarbonise its energy supply and expects that further PPAs agreements with new suppliers will cover a higher proportion of its power supply in addition to this current 5-year deal.

Corporate PPAs are long-term electricity supply agreements between a corporate consumer and a power producer.  They are increasingly being used to purchase renewable energy, providing corporate customers with longer-term price certainty and a strong link back to 100% renewable source of origin, while also ensuring the developer of renewable generation can access the finance needed to develop new wind and solar farms.

James Tiernan, Head of Energy and Environment at Unite Students said:

“We are delighted to have signed the new Power Purchase Agreement which will take us a step closer to achieving our goal of net-carbon zero by 2030. We are already looking at ways to increase the proportion of energy we buy under similar arrangements in the future.”

Stephen Peill, Strategic Client Lead at npower Business Solutions, said:

“npower Business Solutions were delighted to work with Unite Students and help deliver their ambition to deliver a real reduction in carbon emissions via a 5MW corporate PPA with the Galawhistle windfarm in Scotland”.


Notes to Editors

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Unite Students’ five sustainability commitments

  1. Targeting net-zero carbon operations and construction from 2030 – reduce carbon emissions from new and existing buildings in line with climate science, ahead of the timescale set out in the Paris Climate Agreement to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
  2. Creating resilient, resource-efficient assets and operations – reduce the environmental impact of our new and existing buildings by improving energy and water efficiency, and also help its students to adopt lasting sustainable living habits.
  3. Enhancing the health and wellbeing of our employees and students – driving real improvements in physical and mental health and wellbeing based on an understanding of their needs, through improvements to our service model, physical assets and employee support programmes.
  4. Providing opportunities for all backed by new diversity targets – including students, employees and in the communities where we work, where all can succeed, whatever their background, gender or ethnicity.
  5. Leading the student housing sector – we will work to raise standards across the student housing sector and deliver value to our customers and investors.


About Unite Students

Unite Students is the UK’s largest owner, manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) serving the country’s world-leading higher education sector. We provide homes to 74,000 students across 173 properties in 25 leading university towns and cities. We currently partner with over 60 universities across the UK.

Our people are driven by a common purpose: to provide a ‘Home for Success’ for the students who live with us. Unite Students’ accommodation is safe and secure, high quality, and affordable. Students live predominantly in en-suite study bedrooms with rents covering all bills, insurance, 24-hour security and high-speed Wi-Fi. We also hold a five-star British Safety Council audit rating.

Founded in 1991 in Bristol, the Unite Group is an award-winning Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), listed on the London Stock Exchange. For more information, visit Unite Group’s corporate website or the Unite Students’ site