Report: UK independent renewables generation up significantly

By Erin Voegele | July 17, 2014

SmartestEnergy, a U.K.-based purchaser of energy produced by the independent sector, has released its “Energy Entrepreneurs Report 2014.” The report highlights the contribution the independent renewable energy sector is making to U.K. economy while helping to meet the nation’s energy needs.

According to the report, £297 million ($509.11 million) was invested in independent commercial-scale renewable energy projects in the U.K. last year, with an estimated £61.7 million invested specifically in biomass projects.

Overall, independent renewable energy project numbers increased by 40 percent in 2013 when compared to the prior year. SmartestEnergy estimates the U.K. is now home to 2,930 independent renewable energy projects with a combined capacity of 6.23 GW.

The report indicates that farm projects were the fastest-growing category for the second year in a row, with an increase of 81 percent over 2012. In the farm sector, biomass projects were up by 14 percent.  In addition, onsite generation projects developed by businesses increased by 26 percent.

SmartestEnergy’s analysis notes that 40 new anaerobic digestion (AD) projects were commissioned in 2013, an increase of 46 percent compared to the prior year. According to the report, those 40 AD projects include 15 projects developed by farmers and three by onsite generators, including dairy farmers and food manufacturers. The number of biomass plants also grew, by 12 percent over 2012 numbers. On a capacity basis, biomass plants were up by 24 percent compared to the prior year.

According to SmartestEnergy, the manufacturing sector is now the most active investor of onsite generation, and biomass saw the biggest increase in capacity in the sector. Biomass generation in the manufacturing sector was 55 percent, reaching 231 MW equating to a £52 million investment.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the SmartestEnergy website.