New research carried out by the UK’s manufacturing sector has concluded the sector has untapped potential to increase energy efficiency which could lead to a 12 terawatt-hour (TWh) reduction in annual electricity consumption.
According to a new study published by the UK’s manufacturers organization, the EEF, which is the result of research and analysis of audits carried out under the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), found that the UK’s manufacturing sector has an estimated 14% in electricity efficiency still open to it through cost-effective measures. Further, the report — Upgrading power: delivering a flexible electricity system — found that these energy efficiency measured had a 20-month payback period, and that a significant proportion of these measures had no capital investment at all.
As such, the potential if all these energy efficiency measures were achieved could lead to the manufacturing sector reducing its annual electricity consumption by 12 TWh — the equivalent of 4% of the UK’s current annual total, and with approximately £1 billion in savings.
The big problem, according to surveys of EEF members, is that under the UK’s current policies this significant untapped potential will remain just that — untapped.
Only 34% of those surveyed felt that the ESOS audits had provided them with information they didn’t already have, suggesting that most companies are already aware of the potential energy efficiency savings available to them, but for whatever reason are not taking them. Only 13% ESOS audits helped develop the business case for energy efficiency investment.
The report highlighted several possible solutions to the lack of reform, including the development of a fully-fledged Electricity Demand Reduction scheme. The EEF also explains that manufacturers can contribute to the security of electricity supply by taking part in demand side response (DSR) activities, which would reduce their electricity bills and earn additional revenue at the same time. Currently there is an estimated 9.8 GW of DSR available in the UK, however DSR activity amongst manufacturers remains relatively limited, with only 9% of survey respondents taking part in some form of DSR activity.
“With £1 billion on the table, there is a huge opportunity for businesses to benefit from Demand Side Response,” said Lucy Symonds, Open-Energi’s Director of Public Policy. “But with over 20 different DSR schemes and products to navigate, it is no wonder they feel bewildered. Simpler markets and a level playing field which lets DSR compete on the same terms as power generators will save energy, reduce costs for consumers and reward businesses for taking positive action. The challenge rests with policy makers to make regulation fit for purpose in a modern age of energy innovation.”
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