Most businesses will take control of their own energy use by generating a quarter of their electricity onsite by 2025, with 77% of businesses in the UK and Ireland predicting this change will take place in just seven years. This is according to a new study of over 1,000 businesses, by Centrica Business Solutions.
Around a quarter (26%) of businesses have already invested in on-site generation in the form of solar and/or combined heat and power (CHP) with a third considering investing in these technologies. The increase in demand for flexibility that sees businesses rewarded for increasing, decreasing or shifting their energy use has been identified as an opportunity by 44% of businesses planning to feed energy into the grid in future.
The study of businesses from the UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Germany and Italy identified that ‘energy leaders’, defined as those businesses that have adopted strategies to use energy efficiently and effectively, were more than twice as likely to unlock competitive advantage from their energy. Businesses reported strong financial performance, being a leading brand in their market, and attracting and retaining the best talent.
The survey also revealed, however, that while 29% of businesses in the UK and Ireland consider themselves to have a formalised energy strategy in place, far fewer have specific targets or budgets in place to support their ambitions. For example, despite half (52%) of respondents citing having back-up in the event of a power outage as very important, just 18% have specific targets in place to address this. In a similar vein, only 16% of businesses have set targets to support the link between sustainable energy use and brand image despite being identified by almost half (49%) as very important.