UK Renewable Energy Generation Shifts Up a Gear

New research from Opus Energy suggests there has been a growing level of interest among UK businesses in generating renewable energy from their own premises versus 2011.

One third of those surveyed by Opus Energy – 39%, up from 32% in 2011 – expect to introduce solar panels, wind turbines, hydro power or anaerobic digestion, for example, to their business, with almost half of these (48%) expecting to be generating their own renewable energy within a two year timeframe. This is a significant uplift since 2011, at which time just 26% were looking to introduce renewable energy within five years.

In addition, a sixth (15%) of those surveyed are already generating renewable power. This is versus just 6% in 2011. SME business owners aged 55+ are most ahead of the game – 20% already generate renewable power on the premises.

In line with these findings, Opus Energy is experiencing a growing level of interest from companies signing up to its renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs). Opus Energy’s PPA enables it to purchase businesses’ excess renewable power to supply to its customers. These agreements allow companies to generate additional income whilst powering their businesses, and bolstering their corporate social responsibility credentials.

These advantages are highlighted in the Opus Energy survey, where the three main benefits stated by businesses for renewable energy generation were given as:

* self-sufficient supply of energy (28%)

* generation of additional income (23%), and

* ‘doing our bit’ to tackle climate change (17%).

Opus Energy announced its 500th renewable generator agreement in December, marking a significant increase in signings to its PPA compared to 2011. Amongst the recent signings is Knocknain Farm in Scotland which sells 100% of its 330KW wind turbine’s power – enough to power 37 SMEs for a year – to Opus Energy.

Another signing from 2012 was with the Port of Milford Haven. This agreement sees Opus Energy purchasing power from solar PV systems across 13 of the Port of Milford Haven’s sites. This includes the Port’s flagship 100.8kW Phoenix Power PV Station – the largest integrated solar PV system in Wales- located on the roof of a tenpin bowling centre.

When asked what would encourage businesses to generate renewable power themselves, the majority of those surveyed highlighted income:

* a government grant or subsidy to help set something up (52%)

* if it could be proven that it would make money (46%), and

* if the government introduced extra taxes/penalties for not doing so (23%).

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