Large British businesses and public sector organisations have expressed their concern that political uncertainty and difficulties gaining boardroom approval are presenting major barriers to making energy investments, according to a recent survey by British Gas Business.
More than 200 of the UK’s largest energy users, experts and innovators at the Energy Live Future conference at Leicester’s National Space Centre on 7 June shared their views on the future of energy with Gab Barbaro, Managing Director of British Gas Business. Those present described growing pressure to reduce costs and convince senior management about the need to take control of their energy needs.
More than a third (38 per cent) of delegates at the event, sponsored by British Gas Business, agreed that reducing energy costs remained the central energy issue for large organisations. This was closely followed by the challenge of convincing business leaders to allow investment in new technology (35 per cent).
Nearly half (48 per cent) of delegates suggested that political uncertainty, caused by the General Election, Brexit and changing regulation, could make it even more difficult for them to make significant energy changes.
Despite these challenges, British Gas Business urged UK businesses and the public sector to embrace the disruptive trends and technologies that are transforming the UK’s energy landscape, as they present a unique opportunity for large energy users.
Barbaro said: “My challenge to business leaders is to get smart and be more proactive about their energy use. Businesses must think long-term rather than be swayed by current political or economic uncertainty - there are countless opportunities for organisations to save money on their bills today, by getting to grips with how it’s being used and taking action where it’s being wasted.
“Working with Centrica’s Distributed Energy & Power business, we’re providing customers with the tools to give them real, actionable insights that could save up to 20 per cent through energy efficiency improvements alone. With UK businesses spending around £20 billion a year on energy, that’s a £4 billion, golden opportunity and just the start of how energy tech can create real value for businesses.”
When asked what would be the biggest energy trend of the coming decade, more than half of delegates (56 per cent) believed that battery storage would be most important, followed by using demand-management technology through the Internet of Things (31 per cent) and generating all of your own energy from on-side generation (12 per cent).
British Gas Business showed delegates how to overcome their energy issues by adopting three principles:
Smarter buying of energy.
More intelligent use of energy resources.
Greater control over energy use through initiatives such as on-site generation or demand management technology.
A variety of new and emerging energy technologies were on show at the event including the latest generation and storage products on offer to customers through Centrica’s Distributed Energy & Power business.
Several other influential businesses took part at the future-gazing event, including Microsoft, EY and Tesla. Delegates learned how to make use of block chain technology and the smart grid, and gave their verdict on current energy technologies during the ‘Energy Tech Tinder’ session.
Stephen Church, Partner at EY, said: “The industry is changing at a pace that has never been experienced before. This is the age of the empowered customer – and disruptive technology is at its very heart. Now the industry must rise to new challenges and embrace this change and disruption if it’s to make of the most of the ever arising new opportunities.”