Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources—such as sunlight, wind, water, rain, tides and geothermal heat—which are renewable (naturally replenished).
What are renewable energy sources?
Examples of renewable energy sources include:
Often called 'bioenergy' or 'biofuels', Biomass is produced from organic materials, either directly from plants or indirectly from industrial, commercial, domestic or agricultural products. It falls into two categories, woody and non-woody biomass. Biomass is considered to be a carbon neutral fuel that can also contribute to waste management.
Air source heat pumps
Air source heat pumps absorb heat from the outside to heat buildings. There are two types of air-source heating systems. Air-to-air systems provide warm air, which is circulated to heat the building. The other type, air-to-water, heat water to provide heating to a building through radiators or an underfloor system.
Ground source heat pumps
Ground source heat pumps use a buried ground loop which transfers heat from the ground into a building to provide space heating and, in some cases, to pre-heat domestic hot water. As well as ground source heat pumps, air source and water source heat pumps are also available.
Small scale hydro
Hydro power systems use running water turning a turbine to produce electricity. For houses with no mains connection but with access to a micro hydro site, a good hydro system can generate a steady, more reliable electricity supply than other renewable technologies at a lower cost.
Small scale wind
Wind power is a clean, renewable source of energy which produces no carbon dioxide emissions or waste products. Wind turbines use the wind's lift forces to rotate aerodynamic blades that turn a rotor which creates electricity.
Solar PV (photovoltaic) uses energy from the sun to create electricity to run appliances and lighting. PV systems produce no greenhouse gases and a typical sized system can save around 1.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year, adding up to about 30 tonnes over a system's lifetime.
Solar water heating
Solar water heating systems use heat from the sun to work alongside your conventional water heater. Solar water heating can provide you with about a third of your hot water needs. The average domestic system reduces carbon dioxide by around 325kg per year when installed in a gas heated property. Higher savings can be achieved in oil or electrically heated properties.
The benefits of renewable energy
Changing to renewable energy sources isn’t just a matter of ideology; it can offer a wide range of benefits to your business including:
- Lowering energy bills.
- Increasing the security of your energy supply by reducing your reliance on fossil fuels.
- Reducing the risk of your business from rising fossil fuel prices.
- Improving your ‘green’ credentials.
- Reducing your carbon emissions and carbon footprint.
- Introducing the possibility of selling electricity back to the national grid at a premium.
Money and Energy Saving for your Businesses
Investing in energy-saving equipment will also help an organisation's bottom line by significantly reducing energy bills, particularly in energy-intensive industries.
In addition, there are further incentives available to a wide-range of energy intensive industries. These include:
Discounts - Energy intensive industries can benefit from an 80% discount on the Climate Change Levy if challenging targets (Climate Change Agreements) are agreed and met for improving energy efficiency or reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Grants - Grants are available for microgeneration technologies including: solar photovoltaic, wind turbines, small scale hydro, solar water heating, heat pumps and bioenergy.
Enhanced Capital Allowances Scheme - The Enhanced Capital Allowances Scheme allows industry to write off against taxable profits 100% of the capital cost of investments in energy saving technologies and products in the first year. This gives a cash flow boost and a shortened payback period to encourage investment.
Energy Efficiency Loans - Energy-Efficiency Loans from the Carbon Trust are a cost effective way to replace or upgrade your existing equipment with a more energy efficient version. Subject to eligibility, small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have been trading for at least 12 months, could borrow from £5,000 to £200,000. It is unsecured, interest free and repayable over a period of up to 4 years. There are no arrangement fees and applying is straightforward.
Being more energy efficient makes sound economic sense because using less energy lowers operating costs. From an environmental perspective, it's an effective way for business to cut carbon emissions and, in turn, combat climate change.
These incentives together with the spiralling cost of energy have pushed energy efficiency to the top of commercial priorities. Can your business afford to ignore this?
To determine what energy saving devices would be suitable for you; including advice on what further reduction measures you can implement, please contact one of our advisors to discuss your requirements or to arrange an assessment.