Businesses are the largest consumer of energy in the UK buying around 56% of all the UK’s electricity but companies that do right by the climate don’t just make money over time they also earn the trust and respect of their customers.
What is Renewable Energy?
Renewable energy is energy that is generated from natural processes that are continuously replenished. The most widespread sources of energy include:
- Wind: This takes advantage of wind motion to generate electricity. Wind motion is brought about by the heat from the sun, and rotation of the earth.
- Solar: Taps heat from the sun to produce energy for generation of electricity, heating, lighting homes and commercial buildings.
- Hydropower: Utilizes moving water to produce electricity. Moving water creates high energy that can be harnessed and turned into power.
- Biomass: Together with snow and rain, sunlight is essential for plant growth. Organic matter that constitutes plants is referred to as biomass, which can be utilized to generate electricity, chemicals or fuels to power vehicles.
- Ocean: Takes advantage of rising and falling of tides to generate electricity.
- Geothermal: Leverages heat from underneath the earth to generate electricity.
Advantages of Renewable Energy
- The main advantage of renewable energy is that it is sustainable and will never run out.
- It is clean energy, meaning it has low or zero carbon and greenhouse emissions.
- Operating costs tend to be cheaper as fuel is derived from a natural and available resource.
- Renewable energy provides little or no waste products such as carbon dioxide.
- Renewable energy pays off its carbon footprint quickly. Solar panels offset their carbon footprint in about four years.
- Green energy significantly boosts public health. Greenhouse, carbon and sulphur compounds emitted by fossil fuels contribute to heart. diseases, cancer and neurological diseases over time.
- Renewable energy can also become a profit centre by selling surplus energy back to the grid.
Disadvantages of Renewable Energy
- It can be difficult to produce the quantities of electricity that are as large as those produced by traditional fossil fuel generators.
- Renewable energy often relies on weather for its source of power and this can impact the reliability of consistent energy supply.
- Renewable energy does often require a large upfront cost.
A growing number of businesses are making the switch to 100% renewable energy including Google, IKEA and M&S, who have pledged to move to renewable energy as part of the RE100 initiative, which is a global commitment uniting companies to turn to non-fossil fuel energy sources.
Why Renewable Energy is Good for Business
It is important that businesses are aware of their profit margin and how making the switch can benefit their bottom line. Although there is an initial outlay, switching to a renewable energy source is not as expensive as it used to be as the global demand for renewable technologies has brought the cost down.
Not only will switching see a significant reduction in energy bills but it will also reduce carbon footprints. The government has imposed an increased responsibility on businesses to reduce their carbon footprint via the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme and the renewable energy saved by businesses can be off-set with their company’s carbon target.
By investing in renewable energy technologies, businesses can improve their marketability to a new generation of consumers who are being raised to be much more socially and environmentally conscious than previous generations. While it is a morally upstanding choice to make, switching to renewable energy will yield significant commercial rewards as well, by instantly making a company a more attractive proposition to clients and customers.