Every business, home and individual uses energy; oil, gas and coal are the materials which keep us going and none more so than the transport industry. As the prices of these fossil fuels rise and pressure increases on businesses to consider their carbon output and reduce operating costs, we are all encouraged to look at ‘green’ energy to power our lives. But how can transport operators fulfil their business needs whilst also embracing the push towards renewables?
A major asset that any transport operator will have is its operating centre. You need somewhere to park (and perhaps maintain) your vehicles and from which you can run your business, but you may find that you have some disused space which could potentially be producing an additional income. There are opportunities to use your site to generate power for use by your own business and others, and to benefit from government schemes such as the Renewable Heat Incentive and Feed-In Tariff. You can find some more details on these schemes below.
It doesn’t even need to cost you anything. Companies in the renewables sector are operating businesses whereby they install the equipment, maintain and run it and manage the scheme, paying property owners a rental income whilst also supplying the property with its own on-site energy source. Your own energy production, a rental income and a great marketing opportunity – does this sound appealing?
Here are a few examples of power generation systems you could consider:
A wind turbine can be installed on your site. This is a simple and very visible way of indicating your commitment to renewable energy. Turbines range hugely in size and output, and therefore cost. There are planning considerations to bear in mind, particularly for larger installations, and you should also ensure that your site is suitable for this technology; a turbine is far more likely to be effective on an exposed site where wind is in plentiful supply.
Where you have a large surface area such as the roof of warehousing or a large disused floor space, the installation of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels could bring significant power production to site. Again, planning must be considered and also the structure of any building to which the panels are attached must be strong enough to withstand the weight of the equipment but so long as light reaches them, PV panels are an effective energy production method.
A biomass plant is more significant an installation than wind or solar power production but can produce power for a large area. A boiler house could be constructed on spare land which would then burn fuel such as wood chip, wood pellets or waste. The heat and power generated can then be used not only by your business but can be offered to neighbouring properties as part of a ‘district heating’ network.
The current government is keen to promote ‘green’ technologies and energy production and has a number of schemes in place to encourage businesses to move towards renewables, in particular the Renewable Heat Incentive and Feed-In Tariff mentioned above. To explain these a bit further:
Renewable Heat Incentive
Businesses receive a financial incentive dependent on the amount of heat generated and used from renewable sources and by how much carbon emissions are reduced. Installations must be of new equipment but can cover many energy production sources such as biomass, solar thermal and air-to-water heat pumps. The scheme was proposed in order to promote ‘green’ jobs as well as to reduce carbon emissions by business energy users.
‘FiTs’ were brought in to encourage the installation of renewable energy equipment and generation of ‘green’ power on a small scale, such as PV panels and wind turbines. They have proven to be controversial thus far, with significant reductions by the government in the amount they are prepared to pay per kilo-Watt of power produced. However, the scheme remains in place and is offered for up to 25 years of energy production. The scheme is used to encourage the installation of PV panels and turbines and for energy to be produced and either used by the landowner or fed into the National Grid, thereby reducing the general population’s reliance on fossil fuels.
Find out more about energy generation opportunities
Interested in finding out more? We are happy to speak to you to explore opportunities for energy generation on your site and to advise you on the best approach for you and your business. With incentive schemes available and ever-increasing pressure for us all to consider how the energy we use is produced, now is a good time to review your business’ energy needs and what your site can offer as a return.
DWF’s Energy & Infrastructure sector group offers a full-service, commercial legal service to businesses operating in the energy and utilities sectors. Please contact us and we would be delighted to help you ‘go green’.