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“Indispensable” Independent Renewable Generators Supply 7.6% Of UK Power Demand

Independent renewable generators are seen as “indispensable” according to a new report, supplying 7.6% of UK power demand.

Energy Entrepreneurs Report 2016, published by SmartestEnergy, the UK’s leading purchaser of independent generation, concludes that “Energy entrepreneurs are leading the transformation to a low-carbon future.”

SmartestEnergy-1In addition to supplying 7.6% of UK power demand with clean electricity, the report concluded that independent generators also invested over £376 million in more than 1,000 commercial-scale renewable projects in 2015, adding 2.4 GW of new capacity. In total, independent energy generators accounted for 5,467 projects, generating more than £1 billion worth of electricity — the equivalent electricity of powering over 6.2 million households.

In fact, since the Energy Entrepreneurs Report began tracking independent energy generation in the UK, a total of almost £2.5 billion has been invested by so-called “energy entrepreneurs” in commercial-scale projects over 50kW. This has helped more than double independent capacity from 4.7 GW to nearly 11 GW — nearly 40% of renewable capacity in the UK.

“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.”

Specifically, renewable energy developers accounted for building 408 independent projects during 2015, unsurprisingly representing 89% of the new capacity added, with a total capacity of 2.2 GW. Renewable energy developers are responsible for more than a third of all independent power projects, but 77% of the market in terms of total capacity.

Farmers and landowners built 209 projects in 2015, with a total capacity of 56.3 MW, and now account for 28% of all projects, and 5% of the market by capacity. Businesses invested in 155 new on-site projects, totaling 98.6 MW, and now account for 13 of all projects and 6% of all capacity. The UK’s waste disposal sector built two large energy-from-waste projects, contributing another 76.8 MW, while a sewage gas scheme added another 0.8 MW. Additionally, eight new large-scale community projects were added during 2015, accounting for 10.2 GW of capacity. Both the waste disposal and community sectors make up a relatively small portion of the overall capacity and market share.

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