Making renewable energy unstoppable
Chris Houghton, CEO Energy Retail at OVO Energy, on why OVO Energy is taking action against burning fossil fuels:
In 2009 we set out to become an energy company that would put people and the planet first; driven by the belief that there is a better way. We’ve focused on creating the energy system of the future - a future that is going to be defined by renewable energy.
We’ve grown from a start-up to the UK’s largest independent energy supplier with more than 850,000 customers and, whilst our mission hasn’t changed, our work is far from over.
Although around 176 countries globally have clean energy policies, the world still relies on oil, gas and coal to satisfy most of its electricity needs. UN climate scientists believe that continued use of fossil fuels will have irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems alike.
We recognise that there is no one way to solve a global problem like climate change. But we believe that we can help most by making it easy for people to choose renewable energy - and by investing in technology that will make sure that 100 per cent renewable electricity can be 100 per cent reliable, 100 per cent of the time.
What is renewable energy?
When we talk about renewable energy, we mean electricity that comes from 100 per cent renewable and sustainable sources like wind generated off the Scottish coast or solar from sunny Spain. Meaning no coal, no nuclear, and no mysterious ‘other’ sources like diesel generators.
In fact, we guarantee that everyone who chooses OVO Energy – whether they’ve made the choice to be a renewable energy customer or not – receives at least 33 per cent renewable electricity from us. And none of the remainder comes from coal, oil or nuclear sources. Because we’re serious about making energy simple, fair and transparent, we give all our customers the option to upgrade to 100 per cent renewable electricity, regardless of the type of tariff they are on.
Over the past three years, we’ve managed to halve our CO2 emissions to be well below the national average when compared with other energy suppliers. It’s something we’re incredibly proud of and we’ve been able to achieve this with the help of our fantastic customers who agree that renewable energy is something worth investing in.
Is it an investment?
Every OVO Energy customer has the option to upgrade to 100 per cent renewable electricity for £5 a month - whenever they want, for as long as they want, on whatever plan is best for them. While there may be cheaper green deals around, our green add-on is more flexible than other offerings and sustainably priced. In addition, we’re investing in forward-looking technologies that will enable more people to affordably and reliably power their lives through renewables, whether the wind is blowing or the sun is shining.
We’ve been in the energy business for nearly a decade and we continue to deliver on our promise to make energy simple, flexible and sustainable for the long-term – while still providing the award-winning customer service for which we’re known.
We want to be a company that makes it as easy as possible for people to use their collective power to drive real change. If more people choose renewable energy, it will send a clear message to investors and the people generating energy to look for greener, less expensive and simpler ways to get it from renewable sources rather than fossil fuels.
How will technology make renewable energy more reliable?
At OVO Energy we're combining the human ingenuity of our teams with the latest in energy technology. We’re focused on maximising the benefits of energy storage devices like electric vehicles, home batteries and electric heaters when they’re paired with a smart meter. Nearly 40 per cent of our customers now have smart meters and will soon be able to optimise smart technology to take energy out of their storage devices to power their home or sell back to the National Grid for money.
Of course, there is more to be done. Human progress is empowered by increasing energy consumption. Our vision is that we can move the conversation from using less energy to helping people understand that there’s a better way to power up that will ultimately mean they can use as much energy as they want while safeguarding our planet’s future.