On-site renewable energy projects for manufacturing and commercial buildings in Yorkshire are now generating more than £4m worth of electricity a year.
This is according to research carried out by independent energy company SmartestEnergy for its sixth annual Energy Entrepreneurs Report which found there are now 93 commercial-scale onsite renewable generation projects in operation across the region after a total investment of £11.05m.
With a combined capacity of 30 megawatts, the sites are capable of powering more than 25,000 homes.
The average spent on each onsite project, which includes solar panels on warehouses and wind turbines at manufacturing sites, in the region stands at £118,867.
In total, across Yorkshire & the Humber the report shows that almost £160m has now been invested in commercial-scale independent renewable energy generation projects developed by businesses, farmers, landowners and communities
The 25 new independent renewable projects which came on stream across the region in 2017 means there are now 547 sites, including onshore wind turbines, solar installations and hydro projects, outside of the traditional energy supply.
Together they generate more than £80m worth of electricity a year and enough to power 487,000 households.
Across Great Britain, the Energy Entrepreneurs Report shows more than £227m was invested in 400 new independent renewable energy projects in 2017.
However, as renewable subsidies continue to fall away the pace of growth in the sector was the lowest seen 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, the report highlights how energy entrepreneurs are now actively exploring new ways to make investments financially viable as they look ahead to a subsidy-free future.
Iain Robertson, vice president of renewables at SmartestEnergy which purchases electricity from many independent projects, says:
“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.”
Although growth has slowed, SmartestEnergy’s Energy Entrepreneurs 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.
In total they make up 9.2% of the GB energy mix - double their contribution just five years ago – and are helping the nation set new records for the longest periods without coal 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.
Capacity saw a greater increase, with an additional 1GW (8.2%) rise taking total capacity up to 13.8GW. The 31TWh of electricity generated was worth just under £1.4bn.
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