Independent power projects contribute to UK renewable generation

By Erin Voegele | July 17, 2013

A report published by U.K.-based energy purchaser SmartestEnergy highlights the contribution commercial-scale independent renewable energy projects are making to the region’s energy industry. The report, titled “Energy Entrepreneurs Report 2013,” notes that commercial-scale independent generation projects in the U.K. increase by 24 percent in 2012. A significant portion of that growth was driven by smaller projects under the Feed-in-Tariff scheme. 

According to the report, 2,011 independent power generation projects were in existence in the U.K. at the end of last year, with 392 of those projects coming online in 2012. Together, all 2,011 independently owned projects feature a combined capacity of 4,719 MW.

Data included in the report shows that independent power generation accounted for 12 percent of total renewable generation in Great Britain last year. Farm-owned generation was the fastest-growing category of independent generators, with a 74 percent increase in projects. Biomass accounted for 2 percent of on-farm projects, with anaerobic digestion accounting for 9 percent.

In 2012, the number of biomass projects grew by 2 percent. Anaerobic digestion projects grew by 5 percent, with sewage gas projects increasing by 0.2 percent. Approximately 5 percent of all commercial-scale independent renewable energy projects were biomass projects. Biogas and landfill gas accounted for a relative 4 percent and 22 percent of projects. Biomass power accounted for 8 percent of total installed capacity, with landfill gas accounting for 22 percent and anaerobic digestion at 3 percent.

Farmers owned 17 percent of the U.K.’s commercial-scale independent renewable energy projects last year. Approximately 10 percent were owned by waste disposal companies, with water companies owning 11 percent. Developers owned 33 percent.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the SmartestEnergy website.