Is it just me finding the energy scene fairly quiet at the moment? I don’t think so. All the necessary and routine things appear to be happening – energy contracts are still being raised and bills being checked. But everything else is sooo slooow.
I guess we’re in a bit of a lull between one ESOS compliance period and the next, not that anyone seems sure the last one was all that exciting or effective. Much speculation about who’s done what but not an awful lot of useful stats to demonstrate how it enthused British, or indeed European, organisations to rush out and improve their efficiency.
Prices for energy generally have been edging upwards but not at a rate that will change anyone’s strategies, if they have one at all.
More consultations on forward legislation, an odd mention in an oddly constructed and subsequently self- reversed Budget.
Companies swallowing energy into wider asset management, which in some ways makes good sense but gives an impression that maybe too many haven’t sufficiently thought things through. These decisions tend to be cyclic and directly related to the cost of energy; when energy prices are high it naturally becomes more of a focus.
An uncertain legislative and economic backdrop is not the ideal position to drive decision-making for the longer term. Government has a very clear role to provide a more de-risked environment to encourage more positive action across the piece.
The other essential area of focus is in education and the willingness of organisations to move energy skills and qualifications forward.
STEM subjects still seem to be fairly stagnant in their take-up, especially amongst females. A point perhaps is being missed here – whilst there is much comment on the fact that numbers are important, we will need lots more highly effective engineers in the future who are qualified and able to meet the challenges of fast-moving technical and commercial landscapes, not simply more engineers. Technical qualifications and the focus on them, is absolutely right but let’s focus also on how people use them to wider organisational and commercial benefit. This could well be part of the attraction to STEM subjects for many potential adherents.
Too many organisations are just not grasping the nettle of inefficiency, in energy or many other disciplines. Urgent focus is needed from those who have direct experience of the issues involved so the UK is in prime position to succeed once it eventually leaves the EU.
Mervyn Bowden is the MD of Intuitive Energy Solutions.