We are all working towards a net-zero society, where we are not negatively impacting our planet through how we live and work. Switching to renewable energy (energy generated from renewable sources, rather than polluting fossil fuels) is one practical and achievable solution.
However, historically the price of renewable energy has made it difficult for cultural organisations to switch. It can also be confusing to identify an energy supplier that provides truly renewable energy. Creative Carbon Scotland is partnering with BAFTA’s albert initiative and provider Good Energy to enable Scottish cultural organisations to get 100% renewable energy with preferable pricing and guaranteed benefits.
What is genuine renewable energy?
Most energy suppliers are able to provide a green energy tariff, but just how green is the energy you receive?
Firstly, it’s important to realise that unless you have your own energy generation on site, all our electricity in the UK comes from the same place – the UK electric grid. Suppliers can provide green tariffs to customers in different ways, but how they do it bears a little explanation. Some companies, including Good Energy, buy renewable electricity directly from generators, often from UK wind or solar farms. This is the greenest energy you can buy.
Some larger energy suppliers own or work with a mixture of generators (both renewable and fossil fuels) and match their green tariffs through the proportion of renewables they purchase. They are legitimately providing renewable energy to consumers that are paying for it, but there is a knock-on effect on their general tariffs where they become dominated by fossil fuel generation because all the renewables are ‘taken’ by the green tariffs.
There are also companies who buy excess renewable energy guarantee of origin (aka REGO) certificates when there is an excess and they are cheaply available and use these to back up a green tariff. They are still selling renewable energy but essentially the ‘leftovers’ and, unlike suppliers who invest directly in renewable generation, this doesn’t directly stimulate growth in the UK renewables sector.
We always advise researching the approach any potential any energy supplier takes and checking it against this Which? article.
How can cultural organisations benefit?
If you’re looking to ensure you’re getting green energy, the Creative Energy Project takes the hassle out of energy procurement for cultural organisations. In the cultural sector we are already limited for time and resources, and often our smaller scale means it can be hard to secure the best rates. The Creative Energy Project essentially bundles all participating organisations’ energy procurement as one, streamlining the procurement process, securing the best rates available, and doing the qualitative research on behalf of all.
BAFTA’s albert initiative tenders for the Creative Energy Project’s energy provider on five key criteria:
- A renewable, zero carbon product – including no nuclear power or greenwashing
- Business customer service and value-added benefits/services – a guaranteed account manager so you always speak to the same person about your energy needs
- Preferential pricing – quoted prices include a reduction from ‘standard’ pricing
- Investment into renewable infrastructure – the potential to install EV charging or energy generation on-site
- Investment in marketing and engaging with creative sector audiences – providing support to the sector as a whole through working with organisations like BAFTA and Creative Carbon Scotland.
Since the scheme began, Good Energy has been the project’s energy provider, with 100% of their energy produced by the sun, wind and water in the UK.
How does this affect your organisation’s emissions?
In changing your supplier, you are part of a market shift that makes all the electricity in the UK grid lower carbon. We’re seeing tangible results from this shift – for every kWh of electricity used in the UK in 2020, 0.23kgCO2e is emitted. In 2019, this figure was 0.26kgCO2e. As mentioned above, even with the greenest supplier in the country (which the Creative Energy Project can get you!), your electricity still comes from the UK grid. To follow best practice in reporting, we continue to use the UK Government conversion factors for kWh from the grid to calculate the footprint from your energy use. If we counted your organisation’s emissions from energy as zero, we would have to calculate every other organisation’s emissions to fit with the energy they buy. Energy markets are continually changing, which would make this task very time consuming and ultimately not of all that much use.
How can you switch?
- Find out when your current energy contract ends. Often commercial contracts run for a number of years and are automatically renewed through an energy broker – ask you facilities manager or finance manager to check!
- Get a quote for 100% renewable energy from the Creative Energy Project. To find out more, and get a unique quote, get in touch with Michelle at albert.
- Make the switch! Switching to renewable energy is an easy win when trying to reduce your emissions. The Creative Energy Project helps cultural organisations do just that and tries to reduce the time and cost barriers of the past. If you’ve already switched – let us know!
This video by film production company Band Studio explains how their cultural organisation has benefitted from switching to renewable energy through the Creative Energy Project.
Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.
In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.
We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.
Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:
Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.
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