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Dong Energy offers UK firms ‘green’ electricity at ‘brown’ prices

Denmark-headquarted energy supplier Dong Energy is offering UK business customers the opportunity to choose renewable electricity at no additional premium to traditional 'brown energy' sources.

Brown energy is energy that comes from conventional fossil fuels, such as oil or coal.  

In a statement, Dong Energy said that it will 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.

He added: "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."

In 2001, the UK Government introduced the Climate Change Levy, a tax designed to encourage businesses to use less energy. Businesses that purchased renewable electricity could gain exemption from the tax by purchasing Levy Exemption Certificates (LECs). This drove a high demand for renewable supply in the UK and resulted in renewable electricity selling at a similar or lower price to brown electricity, according to Dong.

Last year the Government announced that the exemption would be phased out from August 2015. As a result, demand for renewable electricity has once again become a sustainability choice for businesses, Dong said.

The Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificates, used as evidence for the source of renewable electricity supply, now hold a value in the market and renewable electricity is sold at a premium to brown.

In a statement, Dong added: “Businesses leading in carbon reduction have paid this premium for renewable allowing them to report lower carbon emissions in market based greenhouse gas (GHG) assessments and therefore receiving the reputational benefits of committing to sustainability.”

Energy-from-waste

Dong is currently building what it describes as the world’s first bio plant for handling unsorted household waste in Northwich, Cheshire.

It will be the first bio plant in the world to handle unsorted household waste, without prior treatment, using enzymes. The ground-breaking new technology, called REnescience, has been developed by Dong Energy and tested at a demonstration plant in Copenhagen since 2009. 

Now the world's first commercial full-scale plant will be built in Northwich, meaning a much larger proportion of UK household waste can be recycled and converted into biogas energy. 

The firm aims to get the plant online by early 2017.

Jeff Whittingham said: "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."

 "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."

 "We are leading the way to make this move because we believe that by making this investment on behalf of UK companies, we can help to bring businesses one step closer to a sustainable energy future."