Businesses failing to seize energy opportunities: research

Australian businesses are failing to seize the opportunity to take control of their energy consumption, despite the increasing cost of electricity being their most pressing concern, new research has shown.

The research, conducted for ERM Power by MCR, has revealed only four in ten businesses surveyed have in place, or are working on, a formal energy management strategy, and only two in ten have KPIs related to energy or sustainability.

With energy prices forecast to stay high and the prospect of a long, hot summer, ERM Power said it is imperative businesses actively seek out ways of maximising their energy productivity.

Energy solutions executive general manager Megan Houghton said the opportunity cost in the current market is too high for business not to take action.

“Electricity costs have as much as doubled over the past 12 months and the outlook for energy prices is to remain high, compared to past years,” Ms Houghton said.

“Meanwhile, technology options are rapidly developing and becoming more commercially viable, enabling businesses to take even greater control on their side of the meter.”

Ms Houghton said CEOs and boards must ensure they have an integrated energy management plan that draws on the company’s unique data.

“Energy efficiencies can point to where there’s opportunity for cost savings, often with minimal intervention. They will help businesses improve their energy productivity,” she said.

Businesses perceived energy management as complex, and understanding product and technology qualities, payback periods and measuring performance can be difficult.

Ms Houghton said the solution for businesses in improving energy productivity is a thorough review of their options and the development of a clear evidence-based, data-driven plan.

She said every business is different and there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ to efficient energy management or increasing energy productivity.

“You need to tackle energy efficiency first if you are interested, for example, in the right sized solar system for your business – make sure you lose the weight before you buy the new suit,” she said.