Most businesses will take control of their own energy use by generating a quarter of their electricity onsite by 2025, with 81 percent of U.S. businesses predicting this change will take place in just seven years.
In a study of over 1,000 businesses, Centrica Business Solutions has been working to identify the key drivers and barriers to adopting new energy approaches including battery storage, on-site generation and demand response.
Around a quarter of businesses have already invested in on-site generation in the form of solar and/or combined heat and power (CHP) with a third1 considering investing in these technologies. The increase in demand for flexibility that rewards businesses for increasing, decreasing or shifting their energy use has been identified as an opportunity by 44 percent of businesses planning to feed energy into the grid in the future.
The study of businesses from the U.S., Canada, Germany, Italy, the UK and Ireland 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 management. These businesses also 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 35 percent of U.S. businesses consider themselves to have a formalized energy strategy in place, far fewer have specific targets or budgets in place to support their ambitions. For example, despite two-thirds of respondents citing having back-up in the event of a power outage as very important, just 20 percent have specific targets in place to address this. In a similar vein, only one in ten businesses have set targets to support the link between sustainable energy use and brand image despite being identified by over half as very important.
"It's necessary for businesses to take control of their energy use and have an actionable energy strategy in place whether that includes goals for resilience measures, emissions targets, or increased onsite generation," said Stephen Prince, Head of Centrica Business Solutions North America.
1 32 percent considering or planning to invest in solar in the next two years, 30 percent considering or planning to invest in combined heat and power (CHP) in the next two years