In 2023, Gren committed to enter and invest in the UK energy market. Here’s what will drive and accelerate our plans in 2024.
By Mike Reynolds | CEO, Gren Energy Ltd
It’s seven months since I joined Gren to lead its UK business, overseeing our entry into the UK energy market at a time of unprecedented change. The UK is expected to transform how it generates and transports energy to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Gren’s dynamic and agile approach is exactly what is needed to unlock the huge potential in this market and stimulate rapid acceleration in decentralised energy and district heating, creating thousands of new jobs and driving growth across the country.
I believe three significant moves defined our business in 2023.
First, our acquisition of a network of waste and biomass assets, which play a key role in baseload energy production and reducing waste to landfill. Gren has already invested over £100 million in the UK with sites among others in Wick, Sheffield and Nottingham.
Secondly, recruiting our dynamic, experienced and talented team. As we accelerate our presence in the UK, we are attracting – and continue to seek – exceptional people who are committed to ensuring Gren plays a key role in the energy transition.
Thirdly, in November we confirmed our plans to invest up to £1 billion in district heating and local energy systems in the UK. We will acquire, scale and develop low carbon infrastructure which generates, distributes, and connects homes and businesses to secure, local energy sources.
We’ve taken time to consider the kind of business we want to be and how we want to operate. Now, as we power into 2024, here are three commitments which will inform our thinking and drive how we accelerate our plans.
1. We will focus on delivering in 10 local communities.
Gren recognises that energy generation is transitioning from involving a global supply chain to a more localised model. Energy users know they must increase their ability to withstand energy supply disruptions to ensure stable energy supplies. UK industry can’t be floored by inadequate grid capacity. Homes, public services and businesses mustn’t be impacted by illegal wars. This is why decentralised energy generation taking place closer to consumers is such an attractive solution.
In 2024, we will work with 10 towns or communities in the UK to deliver, implement and scale, local, secure and low carbon infrastructure to provide heat and power to consumers, business and industry.
2. We will address people’s concerns about the cost of living.
Individuals and businesses are seeking to reduce energy expenses through more efficient and sustainable heating technologies. But to achieve this, the UK needs vast investment and incentives in place to support industry growth.
It’s a scandal that around 4 in 10 energy bill payers are struggling to afford payments, according to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics. The same survey also revealed that just under half (48%) of adults in Great Britain are using less fuel, such as gas or electricity, in their homes because of the rising cost of living.
In 2024, Gren will aim to deliver affordable green energy to over 200,000 homes and thousands of businesses, boosting local economies while lowering energy bills, increasing efficiency and driving carbon from our energy supply.
The energy systems we develop will not only be low carbon: they will be affordable. We want to be the champion of the consumer, focused on delivering value and a just transition.
3. We will speak truth to power (about power).
In 2024, countries representing half the world population will head to the polls in what’s been dubbed the biggest election year in history. That’s highly likely to include a general election here in the UK. How government delivers secure, sustainable and affordable energy should be central to party manifestos and feature heavily in political debates. We want to ensure it is.
While we were pleased to see the government recently reiterate and renew its commitment to heat networks, too often this technology feels like an afterthought – and too many voters are unaware of its impact. Labour has already set out its mission to make Britain a clean energy superpower. It is disappointing that a document packed with so many ideas doesn’t mention decentralised energy, heat networks or district heating.
Gren is committed to creating advocacy and demand for district energy at a time when too many politicians are solely focused on solutions which are not yet proven and will take many years to deliver.
2024 will be a pivotal year for Gren in the UK. Private sector capital will change the UK energy market, bringing funding, fast decision making and the expertise to decarbonise heat quickly and affordably. We will be in the vanguard of that change.