The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has published a report which outlines the benefits of businesses across the UK adopting on-site generation technologies, but has warned that there are a number of challenges hampering widespread adoption.
The CBI says that the step change required to transform the UK’s energy landscape into a low-carbon one poses “risks to business”. However, the CBI notes that “smart businesses” are viewing the change as an opportunity. It states: “Companies – no longer content to be passive actors within the energy landscape – are taking greater ownership of their energy future by generating their own energy on-site: adapting their approaches, innovating and thriving.”
The nature of the on-site generation market provides a number of challenges to businesses in itself, as each technology brings its own unique set of opportunities and drawbacks. The CBI has said that companies looking to invest in on-site generation “must have their eyes open to the challenges and opportunities” and learn from those that have gone before them.
The report suggests that the government could provide more support and guidance for SMEs weighing up installing on-site generation. The CBI wants to ensure that all support is kept as “simple as possible” to help businesses better understand and evaluate the options available to them.
However, the CBI has also encouraged the government to reevaluate its position on non-renewable on-site generation. The CBI wants to see Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) added into the pool of technologies that are eligible to receive support under the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme. The confederation wants to see industrial CCS gain traction across the UK in addition to gas combined heat and power (CHP).
Despite the current barriers facing UK business, the CBI notes that “on-site generation can play a major role in meeting our energy and climate challenges and has huge potential for business business, communities and the economy”. According to the CBI, widespread adoption of on-site generation would not only improve companies’ bottom lines, but also make a significant contribution to meeting carbon targets, boosting energy security, fewer people drawing power from the grid, and new economic growth by “enabling existing and new industries in the supply chain to grow and thrive”.
The government has been increasingly vocal about its desire to see businesses adopt solar technology on suitable commercial roofspace. The government estimates that the UK boasts 250,000-hectares of suitable commercial rooftops for solar installs.