The unforeseen dramatic drop in oil price has dented the business case for renewables, according to Nancy Hobhouse, Carbon Plan manager at John Lewis Partnership (JLP).
Next Energy News caught up with Nancy ahead of her appearance on the energy management panel at the upcoming Energy Managers’ Forum in Bristol on 29 April.
How do you see the future relationship changing between business and sustainability?
I believe that business will start integrating sustainability into business as usual. No matter what the driver is: cost reduction, CSR, energy security or reputational risk – sustainability delivers the solution.
We are seeing more and more companies demonstrating that the triple bottom line makes good business sense. Hopefully these front runners will now encourage more people to embed sustainability into business plans. It is clear that it is not only the right thing to do but also makes good business sense.
What opportunities do renewable technologies offer businesses?
Renewables, both on- and off-site, can offer opportunities for businesses. Most notably is the change in Scope 2 reporting where companies can claim carbon neutrality for any UK certified renewable energy they procure. This change by GHG Protocol has the opportunity drive the renewable market and I personally hope it will lead to a material shift in the percentage of UK energy generated by renewables. As the Protocol is so new it we will have to wait and see how the changes move the market but I am optimistic that this will have effect on the demand for renewables.
What do you see as the biggest challenges related to these technologies?
Without doubt the biggest challenge at the moment has to be related to the drop in oil prices bring in to question the financial pay back of onsite renewables. It is making this tough to include renewables into a viable business case.
What single piece of advice would you give to businesses looking to cut carbon costs and improve energy efficiency?
The single piece of advice I would give is to get your processes in place for tracking and measuring your carbon data. Without solid, auditable data making management decisions on strategy or projects is tough. Once you get a better understanding of what your estate is doing the strategy and the initiatives will almost present themselves without too much work.