UK businesses eye smart and distributed energy

A third of industrial firms are planning to invest more than £1 million in smart and distributed energy by 2022. That’s according to a new survey of more than 500 […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

A third of industrial firms are planning to invest more than £1 million in smart and distributed energy by 2022.

That’s according to a new survey of more than 500 UK businesses conducted by PwC.

One in five commercial firms said they planned to invest similarly, with mitigating high energy costs and managing security of supply given as the main reasons to do so.

The report shows around 17% of industrial respondents plan to produce all or almost all of their own power within the next five years, only using the grid for occasional backup.

More than half (55%) of businesses investing in smart technology would rather work with their energy supplier than engineering, technology and telecoms firms.

In spite of their keenness, only 45% of industrial firms said they follow a documented energy strategy, which PwC says demonstrates a disconnect between energy issues and broader corporate strategy.

Steve Jennings, Leader of Power and Utilities at PwC, believes energy firms have the power to build business confidence in smart technology but they must move fast if they are to make the most of this consumer trust.

He said: “While many will agree that technology innovation has the potential to change the business-to-business energy landscape, our survey shows that barriers remain.

“Costs are a prime concern for UK firms as is their lack of confidence in the speed at which returns will materialise. Unless addressed, these issues will continue to influence both the level and pace of smart energy adoption across the UK business community.”

A Dutch sustainable energy company has bought a minority interest in a data analytics firm based in the UK.