Renewable electricity makes good commercial sense in the drive to a low-carbon economy, but many British companies are missing out on significant business benefits, a report from SmartestEnergy warns.

The report, Business and the Renewables Revolution, reveals that switching to renewable power is the quickest and most cost-effective way for most organisations to cut their carbon footprint, it adds less than 1% to power bills, and it responds to increasing demand from customers, investors, and politicians.

However, while 74% of the UK’s 100 biggest companies have set carbon-cutting targets, only 38% of the FTSE 100 purchased renewable electricity in 2015, according to carbon management consultancy Carbon Clear.

Robert Groves, CEO of SmartestEnergy, said: “Smart companies should rethink their energy supply and understand the benefits that switching to renewables can bring to their business, to the economy, and to tackling the global threat of climate change.”

Confusion holds business back

Confusion over buying renewable electricity has held business back, according to a report from the Aldersgate Group, ii which represents companies with a collective turnover of over £300 billion.

 It called for clear labelling of the carbon content of electricity and calculated that the measure could see low-carbon power provide nearly half of all industrial and commercial demand by 2020, up from 14.4% to 48.3%.

Richard Tarboton, Energy Optimisation, Executive Director, at EY, was part of the team which produced the Aldersgate report. In the foreword to Business and the Renewables Revolution he writes: “Companies want to do the right thing but need clear solutions.

Energy labelling, coupled with a greater awareness of the low cost and business benefits of renewable power, are set to take it mainstream. And the greater the demand from business the more we will see investment flow from fossil fuel generators to low-carbon renewables.”

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