Our energy businesses
By owning and operating renewable energy sites, we generate power from sustainable sources and sell the energy produced either directly to consumers or to large networks. Many of our renewable energy sites also qualify for government incentives, which represent an additional source of income.
Government incentives for renewable energy are ‘locked in’ for a specified period once a qualifying site is operational and accreditation has been granted. This means that any changes to subsidies that are announced after incentives have been accredited would not be expected to alter the revenues generated by each site.
The long-term predictability of the income offered by government incentives, and increasing consumer demand for energy supply, make renewable energy an attractive sector. And constructing and operating renewable energy sites can also be an attractive business where no government incentives are available.
Renewable energy forms the biggest part of our group’s activities.
Our energy businesses
We started out by owning and operating solar energy sites, and have grown our business to include other types of energy generation. This includes onshore wind farms, biomass sites, landfill gas sites and reserve power sites. We are proud to be one of the UK’s largest owners of commercial scale solar energy sites, and we produce enough energy from renewable sources to prevent the burning of 2.3 Olympic swimming pools of coal each day.
Solar energy sites capture energy from the sun and convert it into electricity using photovoltaic (PV) cells. Our solar energy sites have been built on a commercial scale, so we don’t own small solar panels such as those found on the roofs of private homes. We are one of the UK’s largest producers of solar energy, and our solar sites produce more than 650 MWh per annum – enough energy to power every home in Bristol.
Our wind farms operate on the simple principle that the wind turns around propeller-like blades, which spin a generator converting the energy into electricity.
Biomass and landfill gas
Our biomass plants convert chicken litter, straw, bone meal or waste wood into electricity, while the ash created in the process is converted into fertiliser that is used on farms.
Our landfill gas sites collect the gas that is produced when organic matter that has been deposited in the ground breaks down. We use this gas to power engines and create electricity. Find out more about our landfill gas and biomass business by visiting the website of our group company, Melton Renewable Energy.
If laid end to end, our solar panels would stretch from London to Mexico City.
Constructing sites for sale
We have been able to capitalise on our expertise and experience in the renewable energy sector and have started to develop and sell sites for sale to other operators. This adds a valuable additional source of revenue to our renewable energy business.
We have also been able to build on our experience of operating energy sites in the UK to access similar opportunities overseas.
Reserve power plants are not themselves a form of renewable energy, but they complement renewable energy by providing additional power at times when it is needed, and so they help to meet requirements at peak times.
Producing electricity by burning methane from landfill rubbish sites is incredibly efficient from a greenhouse gas perspective. The methane burned by our sites is equivalent to taking almost 50,000 cars off the road each year.