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Why your business should consider generating its own renewable electricity

6th July 2020

COVID-19 has dominated the news agenda this year and the virus will continue to present significant challenges. The restrictive economic measures introduced to slow the spread of the virus have caused an unprecedented level of change to our day-to-day lives.

While governments are rightly focused on COVID-19, political and economic priorities have shifted. And while the climate crisis hasn’t gone away - it’s still a considerable challenge which we must all collectively work to resolve - the temporary economic shutdowns across the world have had an unexpected positive impact on the environment.

International travel has dropped significantly thanks to border closures, and the mass shift to remote working similarly reduced daily domestic travel. Globally, CO2 emissions have fallen by 17% compared to 2019 levels.

The UK’s energy system has seen an unprecedented period of reduced energy demand, with weekday consumption down by 13% on average. Thanks to this, and the ideal weather conditions - lots of sun and wind - the UK’s clocked up its longest ever coal-free period, just over two months long.

As we begin to leave lockdown, it’s likely that energy consumption and travel will return closer to normal levels, and emissions associated with these activities will increase, too. With the UK committed to combating the climate crisis over the long term, now is the time for businesses to consider investing in renewable energy to help support the transition to a more sustainable future.

Generating renewable energy for your business

Businesses can support the growth of renewable energy, and reduce their environmental impact, through directly investing in renewable generation.

This typically means installing solar panels, though wind turbines, biomass boilers and other technologies are also options. At Haven Power’s Ipswich headquarters, we’ve installed solar panels on our roof, as well as trialling battery storage. Where businesses have appropriate land or space, a wind turbine may also be an option.

For many larger businesses, investing in generation technologies constitutes more than a sustainability measure; it’s a commercial decision with a revenue impact.

Investing in renewable technologies can both reduce your carbon footprint and also help to reduce your energy consumption. If generated on site, the energy can also help to provide some power towards your consumption, reducing costs. For example, the solar panels on Haven Power’s Ipswich HQ are now responsible for producing almost 18% of the electricity we consume, with very little maintenance work required after initial installation.

As well as the commercial benefits, a report by the Climate Group found that, for companies which are part of the RE100, a consortium of business committed to source 100% of their energy needs from renewable sources, “there is a direct correlation between committing to 100% renewable electricity and achieving above-average financial performance”.

A collective effort against climate change

Where it’s impractical for businesses to invest directly in renewable generation onsite, a business can enter a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a generator to buy renewable energy directly from the source, as well as the certificates which certify the renewable credentials of the produced power.

For larger business, these arrangements are called Corporate Power Purchase Agreements (CPPAs), and offer longer contract lengths to suit corporate customers, as well as a route to market for generators.

Renewable energy already plays a significant role in the UK’s energy mix and will continue to play an important part on the way to decarbonisation. For businesses committed to reducing their environmental impact, finding a renewable energy tariff is an important first step, while agreeing a PPA directly with a generator is an additional step that will support independent British renewable energy generation.

Find out about Power Purchase Agreements

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