Currys’ refurbished tech and the Isle of Man’s renewables ambition: The sustainability success stories of the week

Published every week, this series charts how businesses and sustainability professionals are working to achieve their ‘Mission Possible’ across the campaign’s five key pillars – energy, resources, infrastructure, mobility and business leadership.

Across the UK and the world, leading businesses, cities, states and regions are turning environmental ambitions into action. Here, we round up five positive sustainability stories from this week.

ENERGY: Isle of Man targets 75% renewable electricity mix by 2026

As EU lawmakers grapple with how to fine-tune the design of its renewable energy directive, designed to increase the share of renewables in the electricity generation mix to at least 40% by 2030, a more ambitious target has this week been set by the Isle of Man.

The Isle’s government announced this week a new target for three-quarters of its electricity mix to be accounted for by renewables within three years. The majority of the Island’s electricity is currently generated using natural gas, with diesel, energy from waste, hydroelectric and a subsea cable to England making up the remainder.

Ministers have given the go-ahead for the Island’s state-owned electricity supplier, Manx Utilities, to commence plans to develop 30MW of onshore wind and solar capacity to help achieve the new goal. Much of this capacity will be developed on publicly-owned sites, including solar roofs on car parks and government buildings.

The new goal supports an existing ambition to reach net-zero electricity production by 2030.

“30MW by 2026 is an ambitious and stretching goal for an island community, but one we must achieve if we are to play our part in tackling global warming and climate change,” said Chief Minister Alfred Cannan MHK.

RESOURCES: Currys extends refurbished and repaired tech offering

E-waste is the world’s fastest-growing domestic waste stream, according to the UN. The UN estimates that electronics, electricals and related components worth $57bn are wasted globally each year.

The good news is that the appetite for refurbished, repaired and recycled electronics and electricals appears to be growing. British retailer Currys this week revealed that trials sales of pre-owned phones and laptops around Black Friday 2022 saw 80% of lines sell out within one week.

With this in mind, Currys is expanding its circular technology offering. The retailer has launched a dedicated, expanded second-hand product range on its own website, while last year’s trials saw a smaller range made available through the ‘Currys Clearance’ eBay store. You can read edie’s full story here.

Currys’ head of development for the circular economy Mandeep Gobindpuri said:  “In the UK we produce the second highest amount of e-waste per capita in the world. As much as we all love brand-new tech, we need to address this challenge.”

MOBILITY: Travis Perkins touts ‘UK’s largest’ forklift electrification scheme

In this part of this weekly feature, we often cover exciting news relating to public transport, like sleeper trains to displace short-haul flights, or innovative electric buses.

This week, though, we have received a success story regarding business fleets – and specifically concerning the specialist, heavy vehicles which often prove to be the biggest challenge for businesses with 100% electric vehicles targets. Building materials giant Travis Perkins has pledged to switch all 1,100 of its diesel forklift trucks with electric alternatives by the middle of 2024.

The company is anticipating that the change will mitigate up to 6,600 tonnes of CO2e emissions each year. It is notably working to achieve a 27% reduction in vehicle and plant fleet emissions by 2027, against a 2022 baseline.

Travis Perkins will source the new forklifts from Briggs Equiment in what it claims is the UK’s largest forklift fleet electrification initiative to date.

THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Hayfield plans 50 ultra-energy-efficient new homes in Gloucestershire

Housebuilder Hayfield has this week submitted an application to Tewkesbury Borough Council for 50 new homes in Gotherington, Gloucestershire, that will all have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) A-rating.

There will be a mix of two, three and five-bedroom houses and bungalows at the £35m development, which will not be connected to gas. Instead, electric heating, cooling and cooking systems will be in place for residents. Air-source heat pumps will serve underfloor heating systems.

Other built-in sustainability features will include solar panels for each home, an electric vehicle charging point at each property and built-in water efficiency measures. As required by law, Hayfield will deliver biodiversity net-gain at the site. It is planning native tree pond and the creation of a pond with wetland flowers.

BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: OVO joins Community Energy England

Community Energy England has stated that just 23 new community-owned renewable energy generation assets were installed in 2021, the lowest number since 2017. It has been calling for more policy support for the community-owned approach, which proponents argue can help to maximise the socio-economic benefits of the energy transition and ensure they are shared fairly.

This week, OVO Energy joined Community Energy England as a Principal Supporter. In this post, it will help community energy associations to access subsidy-free power purchase agreements (PPAs), which are often a deciding factor in whether a project goes ahead or not. OVO Energy has this year signed two new PPAs with subsidy-free onshore wind projects from Genatec and Ambition Community Energy, and has stated an intention to expand and accelerate this work.

“We’re looking forward to helping the OVO team with their initiatives to support the growth of community energy by providing the sector with more investment and enhanced levels of support,” said Community Energy England’s head of operations Philip Coventry.

“With ongoing cooperation, we are confident that OVO’s engagement with community energy will facilitate new opportunities that will benefit the whole sector and its growth.‘’

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