19 May 2016 | Adam Leach
Be it branding, or ideological reasons, ever more businesses are going green with their power supply.
Most recently, Sky and Bloomberg pledged to power operations entirely from either renewable tariffs or on-site generation by 2020 and 2025 respectively.
But it is not an opportunity only open to the corporate giants. As the dominance of the 'Big Six' energy suppliers has eased, the range of suppliers and tariffs has broadened.
Established in 1995 off the back of a single wind turbine, Ecotricity is now a major player in the energy marketplace with a
70 MW wind power portfolio. With a single 100 per cent green energy tariff for businesses, it offers the chance to power operations sustainably while supporting its growth through the company's commitment to reinvest profits into expanding generation.
Good Energy, which counts The Eden Project and Unicef among its business clients, and Ovo Energy and Green Energy are also building big business out of the growing demand.
But while there has been growth in both businesses warming to green energy and suppliers seeking to capitalise on it, the established order has moved away. Having all invested and offered green tariffs up to last year, each member of the Big Six - apart from British Gas - has now closed its offering.
Meanwhile, the government's removal of access to the Renewables Obligation, which requires suppliers to generate renewable resources for both large-scale solar and onshore wind, and the lowering of the feed-in tariff scheme have severely cut investor confidence in renewables. Such factors, compounded by the drop in both gas and oil prices, have seen the prices of electricity stay broadly unchanged over the year as gas fell by 17 per cent and fuel oil by 26 per cent in the industrial sector, with even the cost of coal burnt to generate gas dropping by 21 per cent.
All in all, the short-term price picture for renewables has dimmed in the past 12 months, yet there appears to be a strong appetite for expansion over the next 12. Through the continued growth in two-way deals, where customers who generate energy on-site can sell any excess back to their supplier, the added security of supply is strengthening the proposition of going green in operations. And the potential for battery and storage technology to take hold strengthens the long-term proposition further.