500 companies obtain UK's first energy label specifying renewable energy credentials

27 September 2016, source edie newsroom Independent renewable energy supplier SmartestEnergy has announced that 500 companies have been issued with energy labels that specify the source and carbon content of the electricity that they purchase.

Firms and organisations including Saint-Gobain UK, Willmott Dixon and University of London are amongst the 500 that received the labels on Monday (26 September). SmartestEnergy hopes that the rollout will boost the renewables industry by strengthening confidence to business consumers.

Due to SmartestEnergy’s work with the Carbon Trust, every megawatt hour can be traced back to the source of origin, which is then tracked and allocated an Emissions Factor Model to report the exact carbon footprint of the electricity.

SmartestEnergy’s chief executive officer Robert Groves said: “For a while now, business customers have been calling for increased transparency around renewables to help them make the decision to switch that much easier. We now supply over 3TWh of renewable power – equivalent to the power needed to operate all of the streetlights in the UK for three quarters of a year - all backed by origin certificates and evidenced by our Energy Labels, so the momentum for businesses to buy renewable is really growing.

“We call on other suppliers to provide the same level of clarity that we give our customers to help drive the renewables market and enable businesses to buy clean energy with confidence.”

The energy labels have been designed to meet compliance to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Product Standard, and were first introduced after the Aldersgate Group called for the introduction of carbon content labelling. The Group claimed that low-carbon electricity could meet half of all industrial demand by 2020, if concepts such as labels could incentivise the market.

Underpinning the initiative is the SmartestEnergy Tariff Emission Factor Model, which sees the company allocate renewable energy certificates to specific tariffs and customers; creating a certified link between energy generation and end consumers.

The Carbon Trust’s managing director advisory Hugh Jones said: “We have been working with SmartestEnergy for the past two years and are very supportive of their continued efforts to provide clarity around 100% renewable electricity.

“Businesses have an important role to play in ensuring the UK meets its carbon reduction targets and it is initiatives like this that are helping to empower businesses to choose renewable power. The Energy Labels provide businesses with the rigour and traceability they require to navigate the complexities of renewable energy and carbon reporting.”

Smartest scope

Outside of the company’s flagship energy labels, SmartestEnergy has also been researching the energy market, noting which trends could accelerate the low-carbon transition while boosting revenues simultaneously.

Earlier this year, SmartestEnergy released a report detailing how on-site energy generation projects across the UK had more than doubled in the past four years, with businesses producing almost £100m worth of electricity in 2015 alone.

The company has also conducted research into the potential of energy storage. A report from August claimed that the business case for energy storage is being undermined by many uncertainties within the burgeoning sector, such as limited revenue streams and grid services contract availability.

SmartestEnergy is the headline supporter of the edie Leaders Club - an exclusive, member-only programme of free, informal, peer-to-peer networking and events which creates the space for conversation and collaboration amongst senior sustainability professionals in the drive to effect transformational change.

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