Great challenges require bold solutions

Posted 11/07/2019 by Michael Lewis, E.ON UK Chief Executive

It’s a given that more and more people are aware of the urgency for action to combat climate change and concerned deeply about an issue that knows no borders and which threatens to impact our lives in ways we cannot yet imagine.

The scale of the problem is mobilising governments across the world, and one by one they are rising to the challenge by declaring climate emergencies and setting ambitious emission reduction targets. At the same time, many businesses have put sustainability at the top of their agenda and are looking for ways to become more energy efficient and switch to low-carbon energy sources.

Most importantly, our society is now rightly more engaged with the issue than ever before – our own found that more than three quarters of people in the UK are concerned about climate change (77%)*.

What is also changing is that almost four in five Britons (79%) think they could do more to be more sustainable*, a testimony to the fact that a growing number of people are not only demanding change but want to be part of the solution themselves. They understand the need for a cleaner energy revolution requires every individual to do their part to ensure we protect our planet for future generations.  

Unfortunately, the window for solving climate change is closing quickly, meaning incremental measures are no longer enough. While all contributions to reducing emissions are valuable, a transformational response is essential if we are to address this defining issue of our era.

We believe large-scale action can make significant change possible and we’re committed to playing a leading role and setting an example for others to follow: our renewable energy journey began back in 1992 with the construction of our first onshore wind farm and I’m proud to say our most announcement means we’re now providing all of our residential customers across Britain with an electricity supply backed by 100% renewable sources.

That means more than three million homes across the UK are now part of the change that our planet needs so much. Crucially, this step will come at no extra cost to our customers, as the opportunity to contribute to a sustainable and cleaner environment should not be limited to only those that can afford to install the latest smart technologies in their homes.

We are well positioned to drive change at a scale never before seen in Britain, having been at the forefront of the UK renewables revolution for almost 30 years. In those early years we were behind the country’s first offshore wind farm; Blyth in Northumberland, at the turn of the century, we were part of the London Array consortium – at the time the largest offshore wind farm in the world – and completed our latest project off the coast of Sussex just last year.

Our customers can be assured we are sourcing our renewable electricity supplies from a range of technologies either owned directly by us in the UK, through agreements to directly purchase the electricity produced by wind farms around the country, or through renewable electricity  certificates.

A 100% renewable electricity supply is an important first step in a journey towards a more sustainable and personalised energy system, but the future of energy doesn’t stop here.

The next opportunity is helping our customers to manage their energy in a sustainable way by giving them greater control over the energy they need.

Solar and batteries, heat pumps, smart thermostats, electric vehicle infrastructure and home energy management systems - a wide range of energy efficiency and smart home technologies combined with our expertise can already help to further reduce our impact on the planet.

I deeply believe that great challenges require bold solutions. Only through a combination of transformational actions by businesses and individuals taking responsibility across society can we combat climate change, ensuring a future for the next generation.

*Survey of 4,228 people conducted by YouGov between 19th and 21st June 2019

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