Posted by

Tom Nolan, Policy Adviser

13 Nov 2012

During the summer we conducted a major energy themed survey in which almost 3,500 businesses responded. The results show that business requires a market that will deliver security, affordability, and certainty.

Among the most interesting findings from the survey were:

  • Businesses believe that energy security issues will become a major concern in the future, with 59% of large businesses, 44% of medium-sized businesses, and 38% of small businesses already worried about their future energy supply
  • 90% believe that the UK requires a diverse energy mix to avoid future supply problems
  • Disruption to supply is already a reality for some businesses, with 10% experiencing a cut in their energy supply on five or more occasions in the past three years
  • Nearly 40% of businesses feel that rising costs have adversely affected their growth, a clear signal that action is needed
  • Most businesses recognise the need to improve their energy efficiency, with 63% saying they are motivated to reduce their energy usage by environmental concerns

We made a number of recommendations alongside the publication of the results. Among the recommendations was that there should be more focus on energy efficiency – the most cost-effective way of mitigating climate change. So it was good to see the government publish an energy efficiency strategy yesterday.  According to the Ministerial Foreword the strategy sets the direction for energy efficiency policy for the coming decades. Measures announced in the strategy include the sponsorship of three new energy efficiency Green Business Awards; a review of the way that new innovative energy efficiency measures are reviewed and accredited; and the beginning of beginning of the process for implementing energy audits for non-SME enterprises, as required by the Energy Efficiency Directive.

The strategy also mentioned the work the government is doing with ENWORKS in the North West to understand how best to finance and upgrade to more energy efficient equipment in commercial and manufacturing businesses.

Now that the energy efficiency strategy has been published the next big announcement from the government should be the date of the long-awaited Energy Bill. The bill will be vital for the future energy security of the UK. As our survey results show security of supply is a big concern for business. No business can succeed unless they have access to a reliable energy supply. It is a basic but vital ingredient for every business.