The lightbulb moment

Maxwell compares the change in attitude to low-carbon energy to the use of LED lighting. In 2012, fewer than 2% of lights around the world were energy efficient; this year is likely to see the figure pass the 50% boundary.

Maxwell says: “There is a very substantial opportunity. Carbon is a key area. The intensity of focus from large corporates on minimising their carbon footprint is completely different compared to five years ago. Carbon is very high on the corporate agenda and that is hugely positive.”

Is Brexit a driver or a barrier?

The uncertainty over Brexit is making many investors slower to commit funds. Combined with Ofgem’s root and branch reviews of charging structures, this could undermine the case for investment in decentralised and flexible technology.

However, according to Maxwell Brexit could actually contribute to greater demand for onsite generation: “Brexit does create uncertainty. It will slow decision making at a corporate level.

“On the other hand, it may increase issues with energy security: we have a degree of reliance on international gas and interconnectors. Those problems do not go away, they are no easier to solve.”

Post-Brexit, energy security could be the major driver that promotes growth in onsite generation. With the UK nuclear programme flagging, Japanese investment looking less certain, the closure of coal plants and grid operators working to better accommodate renewables, this could be the perfect time for efficient energy to realise its potential.

The impact of Ofgem charging reviews

Will Ofgem charging reviews deter investment? According to Maxwell, the situation is ‘complex’, based around the central question of who pays for the grid and how funding is allocated fairly.

“I don’t think the TCR [Targeted Charging Review] will kill good UK projects” Maxwell says. A sound business case for onsite generation is likely to prove fruitful, whatever the outcome of the TCR.

Maxwell also sees the development of business models ‘as a service’ as being a key part of the solution to unlocking investment.

Maxwell said: “There are many aspects that make energy projects challenging: multiple stakeholders, sales cycles, financial, tax, regulatory and accounting factors. It takes a lot of expertise to make the deals sufficiently simple to unlock them.”

Zestec is well versed in helping simplify the ‘perceived’ complexities of energy generation projects with Clients and finds that early engagement with key stakeholders is invaluable. “Too often we find Clients are being asked to make very important business decisions involving technologies they are not familiar with, based on limited, factual data” says Simon Booth, Co-Founder of Zestec Asset Management. “We shouldn’t expect today’s busy business leaders to be experts in generation projects and to know what questions they should be asking; it’s the job of professionals in our industry to inform, educate and support clients through the process” he adds.

To find out more about onsite generation investments and how they may be able to help your business achieve your objectives, call the Zestec team on 01202 862760 or email us at