What renewable energy options are available for businesses?
As a member of The Paris Agreement, the UK has made a consequential investment into renewable energy sources. The agreement seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the globe and was a strategy founded at the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC). The country’s progress has made it one of the world’s top ten most attractive national markets for renewable energy. Since 2019, 33% of the UK’s energy output was derived from renewable sources.
At this juncture it is important to clarify what renewable energy actually is. Renewable energy is energy that is generated from a source that does not deplete over time and can be replenished, unlike fossil fuels such as coal and oil which are finite in their availability.
What renewable energy sources are available for businesses?
Advantages and disadvantages of sustainable energy for business
Before you take out the cheque book and invest in a commercial renewable energy source, it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages to help you make an informed decision.
- Energy costs become cheaper and more stable over time
- Reduce carbon emissions and become carbon neutral
- Improve your company reputation through corporate responsibility
- Moving towards becoming sustainable as renewable energy sources can be replenished
- Another income stream through Feed in Tariffs and the Smart Export Guarantee
- Business exemption from the Climate Change Levy (CCL)
- Energy subsidies through a government energy efficiency grant
- Over time, renewable sources will eventually pay for themselves
- High initial costs – Installations may be expensive to begin with. Although, the savings you will make in the years to come will offset these expenses.
- Intermittency – Not all renewable sources are readily available at every hour of the day. For example, sunlight won’t be available after sunset. However, did you know that solar panels can actually generate electricity without sunlight?
- Space and geographical restrictions – Business suitability must be factored in for various types of renewable energy sources. As an example, wind turbines are best suited to locations which have access to a large open space as opposed to an industrial location surrounded by buildings.
- Energy storage costs – Storing generated energy through battery systems can become expensive. Fortunately, energy storage capacities are increasing with technological innovations and advancements within the field. This will make storing energy far more affordable in the years to come.
It is clear that the benefits of renewable energy generation outweigh the potential drawbacks. Business owners are also advised to compare green energy tariffs to become more environmentally sustainable.