Suffolk’s ‘energy entrepreneurs’ now generating £37m a year, says report
- Credit: citizenside.com
More than £74m has been invested in commercial-scale renewable energy generation projects developed by businesses, farmers, landowners and communities across Suffolk, according to a new study.
The sixth annual Energy Entrepreneurs Report from SmartestEnergy, which has its operational base, employing 150 staff, at Grafton House in Ipswich, shows there are now 95 sites, including wind turbines, solar farms and hydro projects, outside of the traditional energy supply sector in the region, with a total of £74.6m invested in projects.
The Suffolk projects generate £37m worth of electricity a year through a combined capacity of 379 megawatts, which is enough to power more than 225,000 households.
Across Britain, more than £227m was invested in 400 new independent renewable energy projects in 2017, the report says. But as renewable subsidies continue to fall away, the pace of growth in the sector has fallen to its lowest point since the report was launched in 2012.
With the Renewable Obligation Scheme closing to new projects last year and the Feed-in Tariff scheme due to close next March, energy entrepreneurs are actively exploring new ways to make investments financially viable, it says.
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Iain Robertson, vice president of Renewables at SmartestEnergy, which purchases electricity from independent projects, said:
“The reduction in subsidies has inevitably slowed growth in the independent generation sector but these latest figures underline the significant role energy entrepreneurs continue to play as the UK shifts to a decentralised, decarbonised and digitised energy system.”
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The report underlines the significant contribution the independent sector is making in meeting the nation’s energy needs.
More than 8.4 million households can now be powered by renewable energy projects outside of the traditional energy supply sector, making up 9.2% of the British energy mix. This is double their contribution five years ago and is helping set new records for the longest periods without UKcoal generation for more than 130 years.
The 400 new projects commissioned during the year represent a rise of 6.2% on total project numbers at the end of 2016. There was an additional 1GW (8.2%) rise in capacity, taking the total to 13.8GW.
The 31TWh of electricity generated was worth just under £1.4bn.