CBI: Onsite generation can cut bills, reduce carbon

Decentralised energy could produce nearly a third of the UK's power by 2030, according to the CBI, which has released a report designed to encourage more businesses to start producing their own energy.

The report, released yesterday (30 June), said onsite power sources such as solar panels and wind turbines would help a business become more resilient whilst also boosting its bottom line.

It also said the technologies can make a “significant contribution” to meeting the UK’s carbon targets.

“Onsite generation currently accounts for 14% of the UK’s energy needs and it is predicted that decentralised energy will grow by 130% or more by 2030, if given the right support by government,” said the report.

The CBI called for an “overarching strategy” from Government, to encourage investment in onsite generation. Specifically, the trade body warned against the continuous “chopping and changing” of subsidy schemes and planning permission authority.

Leading by example

The report also warns projects are often hard to get off the ground, with a long payback, making deployment a challenge – particularly for small and medium-sized businesses.

As such, the report includes several case studies of successful onsite generators, such as Sky, which operates biomass boilers, a wind turbine and a bespoke biomass-fuelled Combined Cooling, Heating & Power plant (CCHP).

CBI business environment director Rhian Kelly said: “Tackling our energy and climate change challenges will be as much about the smaller steps made by every business and household as well as the big infrastructure projects.

“Onsite generation has the potential to help businesses, communities and the environment, and must be supported and encouraged.”

Marks & Spencer recently completed the installation of the UK’s largest single-roof-mounted solar panel array, where 24,000 panels will provide nearly 25% of the energy required for the fully automated distribution centre in Castle Donington.

Rival supermarket Sainbury’s has installed more than 100,000 solar PV panels across 210 stores.

Brad Allen

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