Guest Blog: Ashley Phillips – Towards Net Zero: supporting businesses as they rethink energy

Carbon reduction and sustainability are now top priorities for our nation’s businesses.

The Big Zero report

Carbon reduction and sustainability are now top priorities for our nation’s businesses. In words borrowed from The European Commission’s report, A Clean Planet for All, only ‘immediate and decisive climate action’ can now prevent irreversible climate change – and businesses have a vital role to play. It’s crucial to recognise, however, that businesses need ongoing support to balance their commercial priorities with climate action. This is where energy suppliers must step up: businesses that rethink the way they choose and use energy can significantly reduce their CO2 emissions. But innovative and individualised energy strategies will be necessary to make sure those businesses can protect their bottom line and commercial health as they do so.

Energy and our greener future
Energy is responsible for more than 75% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions . It makes sense that generation technologies and consumption trends will play a central role in any future net zero scenario. As our largest energy consumers, businesses have the power to influence change: they can help drive demand for greener energy, shape future policy through their buying decisions, and help the grid transition to renewables by consuming more flexibly.

It’s positive news that sustainability ambitions are increasingly a board-level concern for our nation’s businesses. Pressure from stakeholders and customers has helped to push sustainability up the agenda and failing to take climate action is now an additional commercial risk for businesses to consider. At Ørsted, we believe it’s our job to help make these ambitions a reality. Our industry is already innovating to create new energy technology. By collaborating more closely with businesses, we can create solutions that are a perfect fit for their needs, ensure we understand how to help them overcome the challenges they face as they ‘go green’, and reflect their concerns as we develop new products and solutions. Only through cooperation across sectors can we ensure that new systems, solutions and processes are used to their best advantage.

A partner for the risks ahead
The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) forecasts the risk to business of net zero ambitions at $1 trillion, based on disclosure from 215 of the world’s largest companies . One of the main risks is regulation. As legislation begins to change on the road to net zero, there is likely to be disruption across all sectors. As well as paying carbon taxes, businesses will need to introduce climate-related KPIs, and clean technologies will need to be introduced by businesses to fulfil their legal obligations and avoid penalties. This could also mean a need for capital and an interruption of ‘business as usual’ as new equipment or processes are introduced.

The right energy strategy can help lessen this regulatory and financial risk, making it easier for businesses to adapt and for our nation to accelerate towards net zero. Energy suppliers should therefore be dependable partners for their business customers – going the extra mile to help them navigate new regulations, reduce risk and mitigate the rising cost of energy. One way in which Ørsted is doing this is through Corporate Power Purchase Agreements (Corporate PPAs). A Corporate PPA creates a long-term relationship between supplier and customer, enabling a business to receive energy from a specified renewable asset or project at a fixed price for the duration of the contract. An Ørsted agreement also allows a more tailored approach that is shaped to align with a business’ specific consumption, such as daily profile or flat baseload. It reduces a business’ exposure to marketplace risk and guarantees long-term stable energy costs, usually for ten years or more.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the themes covered here, please join our webinar on Thursday 21st November at 11am. We’ll be exploring how the right energy strategy can help businesses to speed up the journey to net zero, while protecting their commercial growth and bottom line.

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