A new study by SmartestEnergy, which supplies renewable energy to businesses, says that independent renewable energy producers are now generating enough power to put pressure on the Big 6 energy companies to lower their prices.
SmartestEnergy, also claim that Kent is ninth in the UK for producing the most independent renewable energy, mainly due to farmers and businesses in Kent with solar panels on their land or commercial property. Last year the 108 projects across the county produced 351 megawatts of capacity, which is enough energy to serve 179,000 homes.
Robert Groves, chief executive of SmartestEnergy, which buys 13% of the independent renewable energy produced in Britain, claimed these “energy entrepreneurs” are more able than the Big 6 suppliers to adapt to Britain’s growing solar, wind and hydro power needs because they are “small, nimble and innovative”.
In 2015, these renewable energy entrepreneurs invested more than £376 million in over 1,000 commercial-scale projects, which resulted in a total of 2.4 gigawatts of new renewable capacity across the UK. Overall this means that nationally these suppliers provide 7.6% of the UK’s energy needs, providing £1 billion of clean electricity.
Last year, Kent’s independent producers supplied 3% of the nation’s renewable generation, investing in 20 new projects, which produced 88 megawatts.
Among them is 62.5 acre Paddock Wood Solar Farm, which connected to the National Grid in March last year and generates enough electricity to power over 2,800 houses. This power is then sold to a power purchaser and the solar farm receives a guaranteed 20-year subsidy from the Government under its Renewable Obligation scheme.
SmartestEnergy chief executive Robert Groves said: “The Big 6 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.
“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.”
He added: “The government needs to restore confidence to the industry by providing stable policy and certainty over future subsidies available to the industry.”
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