Companies in the UK are missing out on the benefits of purchasing their power from renewable sources, a new report compiled by energy trading firm SmartestEnergy has claimed.
The ‘Business and the Renewables Revolution’ report, published today, has cited apparent confusion surrounding the purchase of renewables as the main reason for struggling uptake.
While three-quarters of the UK’s top 100 firms have set carbon reduction targets, just 38% of them purchased electricity from renewable sources in 2015.
The private sector is responsible for 56% of the UK’s total electricity consumption, a figure which SmartestEnergy said left UK industry with a “key role to play” in helping the country meet binding EU targets.
“Smart companies should rethink their energy supply and understand the benefits that switching to renewables can bring to their business, to the economy, and to tackling the global threat of climate change,” Robert Groves, chief executive at SmartestEnergy, said.
The company, which buys and sells renewable power in the UK, said that purchasing renewable electricity power over fossil fuel-based alternatives stood to add around 1% to electricity bills, but companies would benefit in turn from reductions to reported emissions.
The report also cites three SmartestEnergy customers – University of London, Land Securities and Arcadia – as having benefited from switching to renewable power.
University of London now purchases power as part of a consortium of four other universities and colleges, and the establishments have saved “hundreds of thousands of pounds” from a flexible purchasing plan in comparison to a previous fixed-price contract.
“It is a good story. When we produce our carbon figures, we are now talking about the fact that we’re only buying renewable energy. It’s such an easy thing for people to understand,” John Bailey, sustainability manager at University of London, said.
Arcadia’s decision to purchase 100% renewable electricity was part of a corporate social responsibility project but the retail giant’s purchasing manager Dean Laurent said the achievement became a “big statement” of intent.
“Peers in other companies look at it as a huge achievement. We believe that it also helps with retaining our customers.”
Going 100% renewable can also help with internal energy awareness campaigns. With a business this big, with some 30,000 employees, you have to use a number of methods to engage and keep people’s attention,” he added.
Solar Media has compiled a buyer’s guide for businesses interested in installing solar on their premises and generating their own renewable electricity. The free guide can be downloaded here.