What is renewable energy from business electricity providers?

With concerns about global warming making the agenda both with media organisations and governments, looking into renewable energy is one growing area. Business electricity providers are taking concerns about climate change seriously, and many are promoting green energy deals, which offer power generated from a renewable source.

So while the phrase ‘renewable energy’ is being bandied around we thought it was worth taking a look at what it is and whether you could be in a position to generate your own energy to power your business.

 

Where does renewable energy come from?

As the name suggests, renewable energy is from any source that can be replenished. The obvious and best known are solar power, wind, tidal, wave and geothermal power.

Nor is use of some of these sources a modern-day invention. The Ancient Greeks used mirrors to channel the sun’s rays in order to light fires and torches. They also used solar tubes to direct sunlight and its heat into their homes. The Romans installed giant windows in their communal baths and spas to heat the rooms and the water, and there were even laws to protect buildings to ensure they had an unobstructed view of the sun.

Native Americans used solar power to heat their dwellings, with some living in south facing caves and others placing the entrances to their teepees to the south, again to maximise heat.

 

Why opt for renewable energy?

The most obvious incentive is to reduce carbon footprint, and adopting renewable energy represents a business’s contribution to combating global warming.

But there is a secondary incentive: if your business has a strong Community Social Responsibility (CSR) ethic then opting for a renewable source of energy from business electricity providers will be very attractive. Using a renewable energy source could play an important part of your sustainability goals. Having a strong, visible CSR policy, which you commit to, can have a profound effect on your customers and how they view your business. Yes, business energy from renewable sources is likely to cost more, but the traction you gain with customers in terms of brand reputation and brand loyalty could outweigh this. It’s a possible course of action that you, as a business owner, need to assess.

 

Producing renewable energy

Under the Renewables Obligation (RO) of 2002, energy suppliers in the UK are required to increase the amount of energy they generate from solar, wind and other renewable sources.

This year, 2019, the Government and the wind industry announced an agreement to ensure a third of the UK's power comes from renewable wind energy by 2030. The other 70% is intended to come from solar and nuclear power.

 

How to opt for ‘green’ business electricity providers

If you wish your business to get energy solely from a renewable sources there are three paths open to you:

  1. Opt for a green energy plan
  2. Go with a green energy supplier
  3. Generate your own energy

If you take either the first or second option, then the team here at Commercial Energy Group can help ensure, when we carry out a price comparison among energy providers, we factor in your requirements.

If you opt for generating your own energy, sources to consider are solar photovoltaic (solar PV), wind, micro combined heat and power (CHP), hydro, or anaerobic digestion (AD) – solar and wind are usually the most straightforward options.

Unfortunately, one benefit of opting for generating your own energy is no longer available. The government used to allow the sale of any surplus energy produced back to the National Grid under the Feed-in Tariff scheme, but closed the scheme for new applications in April 2019. We will keep an eye on this situation, as the scheme may reopen in the future.

However, if your business already receives FIT payments you'll continue to get these for the rest of the initial 20-year period.

 

Renewable energy for your business

There are a number of routes to explore, and whether you are able to adopt them may depend on whether you own or lease your business premises.

 

Solar panels

These are popular in a home setting and increasingly so for businesses. However, you do need a suitable building, with scope to install solar panels on a south-facing roof. They are quite costly to buy and install, and it could take some time for them to pay for themselves in terms of saving on energy bills. But, as we’ve mentioned, adopting renewable energy could be part of your CSR policy and enhance your brand reputation.

These are popular in a home setting and increasingly so for businesses. However, you do need a suitable building, with scope to install solar panels on a south-facing roof. They are quite costly to buy and install, and it could take some time for them to pay for themselves in terms of saving on energy bills. But, as we’ve mentioned, adopting renewable energy could be part of your CSR policy and enhance your brand reputation.

 

Wind power

Did you know, 40% of all wind in Europe blows over the UK? So it really does make sense to harness the power of the wind. We don’t live in a blustery country for nothing!

If you have the space – and, we’ll be honest, the budget (as they aren’t cheap) – you could erect a pole-mounted wind turbine to power your business. As with solar power, you can cash in on the kudos attached to opting for a renewable energy source, even though you can no longer benefit from the Feed-in Tariff.

 

Switching to a renewable energy provider

This may prove to be the most straightforward option for your business. At Commercial Energy Group will can look at your actual and predicted energy use and carry out a free price comparison for you – and we can look carefully at green energy producers.

Most business electricity providers will offer a green tariff. The definition of ‘green tariff’ varies from business provider to business provider. For some, a green tariff will be made entirely with energy from renewable sources, for others it will be a component.

Again, if green energy is an area you want to look into among your business electricity providers, let the team at Commercial Energy Group know and we will get the best tariff for you.

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