According to the report, independent generators now supply 7.6 percent of UK power demand with clean electricity, having invested over £376 million in commercial-scale projects last year. These investments added 2.4 GW of new renewable capacity.
SmartestEnergy began tracking independent renewable energy generation across the UK four years ago. Since then, almost £2.5 billion has been invested in projects above 50 kilowatts (KW), more than doubling independent capacity from 4.7 GW to nearly 11 GW, representing 40 percent of UK renewable power. In 2015, independents generated more than £1 billion of electricity from a total of 5,467 projects, enough to power 6.2 million households and the equivalent of taking 8.9 million cars off the road.
“Energy entrepreneurs are indispensable to Britain’s energy future, driving change towards a flexible, efficient, low-carbon power system” said Robert Groves, CEO of SmartestEnergy. “They are creating new jobs, improving our energy security, and helping to meet climate change targets, and there is evidence that rapid growth in renewables can bring down electricity prices. Traditional electricity supply companies are in no shape to deliver the change that is needed. The Big Six are suffering in this low-carbon transition - share prices and dividends are falling, companies are laying off staff and some are even breaking themselves up. These incumbents are slow moving, beset by problems, and lack funds for investment.”
Mr Groves added that by contrast, the energy entrepreneurs are small, nimble and innovative. They have attracted a global pool of capital to invest in Britain’s renewable capacity and are taking advantage of technologies like wind and solar which are rapidly coming down the cost curve. They are starting to invest in battery storage which will play a key role in our future energy system and offers exciting new business opportunities.
SmartestEnergy began as a small company in 2001, operating as a generation aggregator and supplying industrial and commercial organisations by 2008. The company now has a diverse and growing portfolio with over 550 generation customers ranging from communities to blue chip companies and nearly 1,000 business electricity customers from high-street brands to major manufacturers.