Hundreds of UK firms are to be awarded the UK’s first ‘Energy Labels’ from SmartestEnergy, specifying the source and carbon content of the clean electricity they buy in an effort to further boost the appeal of clean energy to business customers.
Construction products multinational Saint-Gobain UK, sustainable building company Willmott Dixon and education provider University of London are among the 500 businesses which will receive the labels.
They trace every megawatt of energy used to its origin, allowing the organisations to report the exact carbon footprint of the power they use and their contribution to meeting UK climate targets.
Robert Groves, chief executive officer at SmartestEnergy, said: “For a while now, business customers have been calling for increased transparency around renewables to help them make the decision to switch that much easier.
“We now supply over 3TWh of renewable power – equivalent to the power needed to operate all of the streetlights in the UK for three quarters of a year – all backed by origin certificates and evidenced by our Energy Labels, so the momentum for businesses to buy renewable is really growing.
“We call on other suppliers to provide the same level of clarity that we give our customers to help drive the renewables market and enable businesses to buy clean energy with confidence.”
The clean energy supplier, which purchases renewable electricity from almost 500 projects around the UK, developed the Energy Labels following work with the Carbon Trust. Every megawatt hour supplied is backed with an origin certificate, which is tracked and allocated in an Emissions Factor Model which has been certified by the Carbon Trust to be compliant with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Product Standard.
Hugh Jones, managing director, advisory from the Carbon Trust, said: “We have been working with SmartestEnergy for the past two years and are very supportive of their continued efforts to provide clarity around 100% renewable electricity.
“Businesses have an important role to play in ensuring the UK meets its carbon reduction targets and it is initiatives like this that are helping to empower businesses to choose renewable power. The Energy [Labels] provide businesses with the rigour and traceability they require to navigate the complexities of renewable energy and carbon reporting.”
The development of the labels followed a report from the Aldersgate Group which called for clear labelling of the carbon content of electricity. It claimed the measure could see low carbon electricity meet nearly half of all industrial and commercial demand by 2020, up from 14.4% to 48.3%.
Nick Molho, executive director, Aldersgate Group, said: “The Aldersgate Group wrote the ‘Enable the Label’ report in 2014, proposing an electricity label to increase the transparency of energy bought by businesses in order to drive corporate demand for renewable electricity.
“It’s great to see one of the leading suppliers of renewable energy building on this work and bringing this much-needed tool to market. We hope this is the start of all UK suppliers providing an A-G rated label for the electricity they have supplied to their business customers, to help drive uptake of renewable electricity.”
Adoption of renewable energy by business has experienced a significant increase in recent months, with initiative’s like the RE100 seeing global brands – most recently Apple – commit to renewable energy.
This has seen suppliers of clean energy increase their activity within the business community. Good Energy recently announced a 38% increase in the amount of electricity it supplied to its business customers, reaching 61.5GWh for the first six months of the year.