CEO blog: Businesses hold the key to evolving our sustainable cities

With the people and businesses in our growing cities expected to be responsible for 80% of global carbon emissions by 2050, the way we generate, distribute and consume electricity needs to change. SmartestEnergy CEO Robert Groves shares his thoughts about how the business sector can lead the way.

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There’s no question that traditional centralised, fossil-fuel based generation will have to give way to sustainable, localised energy production alongside much more efficient, flexible consumption.

With the private sector in the UK accounting for nearly 60% of total electricity demand, businesses have the opportunity to drive the low carbon agenda forward and in turn, shape how we power our world.

Growing demand for renewable energy

Many of the world’s largest companies and brands are already opting for a more sustainable and innovative approach to sourcing and consuming energy.

To support these sustainability leaders, we recently launched new supply products backed by an energy label which shows exactly where a customers’ electricity has come from and the carbon emissions associated with it.

Only with this level of information can businesses really make informed decisions about their energy, so we hope to see other suppliers following suit and helping to support the uptake of renewable electricity.

Harnessing power of technology

The innovation that will really revolutionise the way we consume energy is demand side management. Businesses ultimately have to use energy, so how can they do it in the smartest, most flexible way to reduce the environmental impact of their own operations and support the grid as a whole?

Demand side response – effectively shifting consumption to when demand (and prices) are lower – will play an increasingly important role in helping balance the grid, avoid blackouts and enable more renewable generation to come on stream.

In the UK, there are government schemes available to incentivise participation - so it makes commercial as well as environmental sense. We are currently working with many of our large business customers to help them get involved and become smarter consumers.

The journey starts with businesses

Population growth and the expansion of urban areas undoubtedly pose huge challenges for the decades ahead.

By choosing renewable energy and embracing demand side management, businesses can help create an energy landscape which can support economic success as well as reduce carbon emissions.

Watch my full interview with The Business Debate below: