Cleantech
No Excuses for UK Businesses:
DONG Energy Offers ‘Green’ Electricity for the Price of ‘Brown’

Danish utility company DONG Energy is offering renewable electricity to business customers in the United Kingdom for “no additional premium” compared to “brown energy” sources. In an announcement late last week, the energy supplier pledged to “cover additional costs associated with 'going green,'” so that UK businesses can access renewable electricity and achieve their sustainability ambitions without commercial disadvantage.”

“We are taking this bold step because we believe that all businesses should have access to renewable electricity supply without paying a premium,” said Jeff Whittingham, Managing Director of DONG Energy Sales.

“If we are to embrace a truly sustainable energy future, we will need to take an integrated and forward-thinking approach to energy. One part of this is putting renewable electricity on an equal footing with traditional 'brown energy' sources.”

The move follows the UK government’s budget decision to phase out a tax exemption for businesses which purchased renewable energy. In 2001, the government introduced the Climate Change Levy (CCL) to encourage businesses to use less energy; businesses that purchased renewable electricity could be exempted from the tax by purchasing Levy Exemption Certificates (LECs). Last year, however, it was announced that the exemption will be phased out from August 2015.

DONG Energy stated that as a result, purchasing renewables is once again a “sustainability choice” for businesses, rather than an economic one. The company hopes its new scheme will make the choice easier, for companies of all sizes.

“We are making this announcement at a time of tight budgets and fierce competition for businesses of all types and sizes who are under growing pressure to reduce carbon emissions and develop a sustainable business,” Whittingham said. “It is also a time when cost is key and the additional financial burden of buying renewable energy might be difficult for some companies to justify on a commercial basis.”

The company believes this investment “demonstrates that it is accompanying its customers on the journey” to a sustainable energy future. The statement released last week did not specify how the scheme will be executed.

The announcement also follows the release of DONG Energy’s financial results for the first quarter of 2016. The energy supplier boasted an increase in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 35 percent year-over-year, driven by a 53 percent increase in wind power. The company has an ownership share of around 43.8 percent of the offshore wind farms installed in the UK. One such wind farm, the Hornsea Project One, located 120 kilometres off the coast of the UK, will be a record size upon completion – larger than Malta and more than twice the size of Greater London.

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