UK's first Energy Labels given to hundreds of firms

Five hundred companies have been issued with the UK’s first Energy Labels from SmartestEnergy, specifying the source and carbon content of the clean electricity they buy.

Construction products multinational Saint-Gobain UK, sustainable building company Willmott Dixon and the University of London are among the organisations which will receive labels tracing every megawatt they use to its source of origin, allowing them to report the exact carbon footprint of the power they use and their contribution to meeting UK climate targets.

SmartestEnergy claims that the move is designed to boost the renewables industry and provide increased confidence to business consumers.

SmartestEnergy chief executive officer Robert Groves believes that business customers have been calling for increased transparency around renewables for a while now, in order to help them make the decision to switch much easier.

“We now supply over 3TWh of renewable power – equivalent to the power needed to operate all of the streetlights in the UK for three quarters of a year - all backed by origin certificates and evidenced by our Energy Labels, so the momentum for businesses to buy renewable is really growing,” he said.

“We call on other suppliers to provide the same level of clarity that we give our customers to help drive the renewables market and enable businesses to buy clean energy with confidence.”

The UK-based electricity supplier states that it is able to produce the Energy Labels because of the work it has done with the Carbon Trust, as every megawatt hour supplied is backed with an origin certificate, which is tracked and allocated in a Carbon Trust-certified Emissions Factor Model.

Hugh Jones, managing director advisory from the Carbon Trust, explains how the company have been working with SmartestEnergy for the past two years and are “very supportive of their continued efforts to provide clarity around 100 per cent renewable electricity.”

“Businesses have an important role to play in ensuring the UK meets its carbon reduction targets and it is initiatives like this that are helping to empower businesses to choose renewable power,” he said.

“The energy provides businesses with the rigour and traceability they require to navigate the complexities of renewable energy and carbon reporting.”

The supplier also emphasises that it developed the Energy Labels in response to a call from the Aldersgate Group for clear labelling of the carbon content of electricity. A report from the sustainable business group, which represents companies with a turnover of over £400bn, calculated that the measure could see low carbon electricity meet nearly half of all industrial and commercial demand by 2020, up from 14.4 per cent to 48.3 per cent.

Nick Molho, executive director, Aldersgate Group comments that the group wrote the ‘Enable the Label’ report in 2014, proposing an electricity label to increase the transparency of energy bought by businesses in order to drive corporate demand for renewable electricity.

“It’s great to see one of the leading suppliers of renewable energy building on this work and bringing this much-needed tool to market. We hope this is the start of all UK suppliers providing an A-G rated label for the electricity they have supplied to their business customers, to help drive uptake of renewable electricity,” he said.

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