- Answering some frequently asked questions about sustainability in the energy industry
Sustainable energy comes from sources that can fulfil our current energy needs without jeopardising future generations. It’s about finding clean sources of energy that renew themselves, rather than sources that can be depleted. Popular sources of sustainable energy include wind, solar and hydropower, all of which are also renewable. To qualify as sustainable, energy must be efficiently obtained and distributed.
The dictionary definition of Carbon Footprint is ‘the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organisation, or community.’ Simply, it is the amount of greenhouse gases produced to, directly and indirectly, support a person’s lifestyle and activities.
Carbon footprints are usually measured in equivalent tons of CO2, during the period of a year, and they can be associated with an individual, an organization, a product or an event, among others.
Renewable energy and sustainable energy are often used interchangeably. There is some overlap, as many sustainable energy sources are also renewable. However, these two terms are not exactly the same. Renewable energy comes from existing resources that naturally sustain or replenish themselves over time. Renewable energy is defined by the time it takes to replenish the primary energy resource, compared to the rate at which energy is used.
Net zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. We will reach net zero when the amount we add is no more than the amount taken away.
Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) are released when we burn oil, gas and coal for our homes, factories and transport. Methane is produced through farming and landfill. These gases cause global warming by trapping the sun’s energy.
Whilst there is an upfront cost associated with installing solar panels, payback times are being cut to as little as four years, depending on the project, compared to seven or eight years we have seen in the past. Solar power is fairly self-sufficient with low maintenance costs, so the return on investment could be great.
Businesses can install a charging point in their car parks, including rapid charging points, without planning permission. If your business operates on leased premises, you will need to ask the landlord for permission before you install any charge points. If your business doesn’t have any off-street parking, you may still be able to get a charging point installed near your business.
Grid connection is key for EV. Without permission of the DNO, then the car chargers won’t be able to be connected to the grid. It’s imperative that the EV points are scaled depending on your current agreed kVa capacity.
There are lots of different ways businesses can be more sustainable. A few examples include choosing sustainable materials in your packaging, products marketing materials. Reducing your energy consumption and switching to a renewable energy source are also simple ways to help your business become more sustainable.
Geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind are all types of renewable energy sources.
Oliver Denison is our inhouse sustainability expert. With over 5 years’ experience working within the industry, extensive knowledge and a fierce passion for helping businesses become more sustainable, he is our first point of call when it comes to renewables. Part of his role entails building and maintaining strong relationships with our trusted partners. These relationships enable us to offer our customers a range of sustainable solutions at a first-class level of service.
Solar PV and Battery Storage
Soaring energy prices and volatile markets, have pushed many businesses to put their roof space to good use by turning to solar PV as an energy-efficient alternative to cut bills. Investing in solar could help your business protect a significant portion of its energy usage from increasing costs and could put you ahead of growing legislation as the government focuses on net zero. Not only could it bring substantial financial benefits it’s also becoming increasing attractive due to the positive impact on the environment.
Electric Vehicle Charging Points (EV)
With the government setting a target of stopping sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, there is a strong focus on electric and hybrid vehicles. Over the next few years, as we get closer to the 2030 deadline, the demand for EV points will become much greater. Whether you are looking to install charge points for commercial vehicles or private employee cars we can guide you through finding the right solution for your business.
Power Purchase Agreements (PPA)
Power purchase agreements (PPAs) can help your business achieve its sustainability goals and lock in long-term pricing for electricity, helping to manage the risk of volatile power markets and generate savings on your energy bills. If your business wants to explore selling its renewable energy back to the grid, we can help ensure you receive market leading rates along with a friendly and personal service.
Outsourced Energy Management
Understanding how energy is being used in your business, the impact it’s having on the environment and finding ways to become more energy efficient can be a full-time job for someone – although you may find hiring an in-house Energy Manager costly. We can provide you with the services of an Outsourced Energy Manager, who spends as much or as little time within your business as you choose. Whether your business needs to meet ESOS or SECR audits, or you wish to promote your workforce to be more sustainable, our outsourced energy manager can cater for all aspects.