Onsite power to save UK businesses £33bn

7th November 2013

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  • Mitigation ,
  • Generation ,
  • Renewable



Generating energy onsite through renewables, combined heat and power and by burning waste will save firms billions and cut 350 million tonnes of CO2, reveals study

Research analysing the rate at which companies are installing energy generation technologies at their sites predicts that “decentralised” power will account for 14% of the UK’s total generating capacity by 2030.

It estimates that between 2010 and 2030, installing such technologies will save UK companies a total of £33 billion in energy costs and, because onsite generation measures are low- or no-carbon energy sources, they will cut the overall carbon footprint of UK businesses by 350 million tonnes.

The research, by analysts Verdantix and consultancy firm Utilyx, examined use of solar, wind, anaerobic digestion, combined heat and power (CHP), energy-from-waste (EfW) and solar and “tri-generation” (simultaneous creation of cooling, heat and power) technologies across 23 business sectors, including automotive, financial services, healthcare, retail and utilities.

It found that onsite technologies generated 8GW of power in 2011 – 9% of the UK’s total capacity – with he bulk of energy produced by CHP units (40%) and EfW plants (34%). The researchers also interviewed energy managers from UK firms with annual revenues of at least £150 million, and found that 74% planned to invest in decentralised energy.

“This report shows that onsite energy generation will play an increasingly important role in our future energy mix,” said Mark Stokes, managing director for Utilyx’s asset management business. “In a climate of volatile and rising energy prices, decentralised energy can help businesses save money, reduce carbon, and provide energy security.”

The analysis predicts that CHP and EfW will deliver the greatest savings to UK firms – £20 billion by 2030 – but that solar power and tri-generation is likely to grow the fastest. It forecasts that onsite CHP will be generating 7.1GW by 2030, up from 4GW in 2011, and that uptake will be highest in the oil and gas, chemicals and food and drinks sectors. Retailers,meanwhile, are likely to adopt tri-generation and solar energy technologies, while industrial facilities will be big users of wind and EfW power generation.

The report came as RenewableUK confirmed that deployment of wind turbines in the UK is accelerating at record levels. In the 12 months to June 2013, offshore wind generating capacity increased 79%, and onshore deployment grew a further 25%, bringing total capacity to 9.7GW.

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