The Power of Provenance: How businesses are empowering local communities through renewable energy generation

As the UK continues its journey towards net zero, more companies are looking for ways to show their environmental commitment. 

Pathway to COP26 report

By Valpy Fitzgerald, Renewables Director at Drax

As the UK continues its journey towards net zero, more companies are looking for ways to show their environmental commitment.

A significant part of this is supporting renewable energy generation and the development of a smarter, greener electricity network.

To do this, companies will often purchase renewable energy certificates or choose green tariffs from energy suppliers. However, as businesses look to go the extra mile, many are now partnering with local renewable energy generators – often through corporate power purchase agreements (CPPAs). This guarantees the origin of their energy and the long-term supply of renewable energy.

But the benefits don’t stop there. As businesses can source power from a generator in a specific region, there’s a real opportunity to build goodwill among the local communities. Local energy has the potential to boost local economies and create additional revenue to those who get involved. This is likely to go down well with a business’ stakeholders – many of whom have strong ties to area and will be interested in the transparency that local generation provides.

For this reason, it’s becoming a high priority for businesses that want to show their environmentally conscious employees, customers and wider stakeholders how committed they are to supporting and improving the local region.

For example, Cambridge Colleges Consortium (CCC) recently opted for a three-year contract with Drax, with one of the main criteria being that they source as much energy as possible from the Cambridgeshire area.

The contract with Drax ensures 100% renewable energy supply from local generators to its 1,200 non-half hourly meter points across its 31 colleges. The move allows CCC to meet its business demands, while staying on track to meet its sustainability goals for the future.

The contract also includes the installation of SMETS2 smart meters to eligible sites across the college buildings, which allows CCC to monitor energy usage in real time. This provides CCC with the information needed to better understand energy consumption across its portfolio and make the most of the renewable energy it buys.

Cambridge Colleges is just one example of organisations that are prioritising local energy as a means to support the nation’s sustainability goals. By investing in local energy generation, businesses can tap into local generators, increasing the UK’s renewable energy capacity and helping to stabilise the grid.

Through the power of provenance, we’ll unlock the full potential of the UK’s renewable energy sector.

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