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Renewable technology 'should be freely available to SMEs'

Renewable technology 'should be freely available to SMEs'

Renewable technology 'should be freely available to SMEs'

If boosting energy efficiency and sustainability are high on the list of priorities for your business, there are many positive steps available for you to take.

Encouraging positive practices in the workplace, for instance, and ensuring you work with environmentally sound product and service suppliers can help to improve your green credentials.

One of the biggest and potentially most beneficial initiatives your company could embark upon is starting to use renewable energy, such as solar power or a biomass heating system.

There is no doubt that for most firms - particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - this will represent a serious investment. Many directors and office managers could be discouraged by the potential costs involved in such an undertaking.

However, with renewables becoming more commonplace and making a growing contribution to the overall UK energy mix, businesses can feel confident that these technologies will become more easily accessible in the future.

This is one of the goals of OnGen, a new Edinburgh-based company whose aim is to reduce corporate energy bills through in-depth feasibility assessments.

The venture was launched by energy experts Chris Trigg, Andrew Bright and Jonny Clark, the Herald reported.

Mr Trigg said: "It's about opening up renewables for the SME sector. [Renewable technology] shouldn't just be the preserve of the blue-chip companies."

Based on an online platform, OnGen allows clients to supply details on their energy consumption and requirements to see if they could benefit from various sustainable and low-carbon measures, such as solar panels, biomass boilers and ground-source heat pumps.

Targeted at the public sector as well as SMEs, the tool has the potential to reduce users' energy bills by up to half, according to the founders.

The business secured start-up funding of £250,000 and is looking for further finance.

Among its investors is Ian Marchant, chairman of oil and gas services provider Wood Group, while the Scottish Investment Bank also supported the venture.

Mr Marchant said OnGen could be a sign of things to come in terms of how energy is delivered and used.

"Putting reliable information in the hands of consumers is the first step on the road to an energy revolution, as I believe that the energy system of the future will be far more decentralised and renewable-focused than our current fossil-based, industrialised system," he said.

"Navigating this transition is not easy and OnGen are developing products that allow all consumers of energy to make informed decisions."

A recent report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicted that the cost of renewables like wind and solar power will plummet over the coming decades, marking a "fundamental transformation of the world electricity system".

This is good news for businesses that are already looking to maximise their efficiency through educating employees and eliminating bad practices such as continuing to use heating and electricity when they aren't needed.

Posted by William Rodgriguez

Image courtesy of iStock/Vencavolrad