Campaigning for a greener future

Andy Dayus - Head of Renewables Operations at Opus Energy

Opus Energy: Powering Businesses With Renewables

Opus Energy is one of the UK’s fastest growing companies providing gas and electricity to the business market in the UK. The company currently supplies energy to over 160,000 business locations and employs over 500 staff in its offices set in Northampton and Oxford.

To meet consumer requirements, Opus Energy started buying renewable power in 2003, and in 2011 launched its Renewables division to enable businesses to sell excess power back to Opus Energy. Currently Opus Energy’s Renewables division is buying power from over 750 UK based generators.

We spoke to them about the people behind Opus Energy and their plans for the future, including how green energy can work for businesses in the UK.

Millstones wind turbineWhat prompted you to launch Opus Energy, and to focus on supplying renewable energy to businesses?

Opus Energy was launched in 2002 with a view to provide UK businesses with competitively priced, reliable energy. We’ve made it a point to listen to our customers and to develop products that meet their needs. When our customers began asking for more renewable sourced electricity, we looked for the most cost-effective way to provide it.

What are the benefits to companies in choosing renewable energy sources to power their business?

Because of government incentives, much of the renewable power that we provide to our business customers is provided at little or no extra cost. Many of our customers value being able to help the environment and the local economy at the same time. Other benefits will depend on the type of customer – Universities, for example, may gain extra research funding from government bodies if they can prove a reduction in carbon emissions.

Selcoth Farm Hydro PlantThere are many types of renewable energy generation. What types of renewable energy sources do you use?

At Opus Energy, we work with all kinds of renewable energy, including solar, hydro power, wind (both off-shore and on-shore) and anaerobic digestion.

We are also interested in some of the more novel technologies such as tidal and wave power.

Where is the energy Opus Energy supplies generated and do you have plans to increase generation as more people switch to ‘Green’ energy?

Opus Energy supplies renewable energy that is primarily generated in England, Scotland, Wales, Scandinavia and a few other countries. We are always looking to work with more generators of renewable energy. We work with many independent generators and have an experienced team on hand that can help guide interested parties through the process of setting up and selling renewable energy.

Do you think there should be more investment in renewable energy in the UK? Could this lead to more jobs and contribute to the economic recovery?

There are lots of schemes that encourage investment in renewables in the UK. The government is working hard to attract this investment and several new schemes are underway or being finalised, including the new CFD FIT scheme. It is estimated by the DECC, that the extra £40 billion entering the UK renewable sector by 2020, will support 200,000 new jobs in the UK (read more about this here).

Craig Birch Wind FarmBusinesses have struggled with the economic climate of late so prices are a big contributor when deciding on suppliers. Does renewable energy cost more than ‘normal’ energy?

Renewable energy can cost more, but many businesses find they can make great savings if they are fortunate enough to have a site which is suitable for generating their own renewable power. They can even make some extra income if they are able to produce more than they need, export any excess back to the grid and sell it back to their supplier.

Is it difficult to switch from a conventional energy account to a renewable energy tariff?

Not at all. Many suppliers offer a “green” or renewable tariff. At Opus Energy, we take a slightly different approach. We don’t split our tariffs into “green” and “non-green” (or” brown”) versions. Instead, we work to ensure that as much as possible of the power that we buy and put into the grid for our customers has come from renewable and cleaner sources.

Over the last 12 months, we’ve signed up over 500 generators in the UK – many of whom are connecting to the grid for the first time. This way, not only are we supporting the renewable generators and providing them with an outlet for their energy, but all our customers (not just some) also benefit from the fact that we are out there actively securing new sources of renewable power for them to use.


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