Titled Driving Industrial Energy Efficiencies, the research examines how energy-efficient practices and technologies can help companies save money and boost productivity while simultaneously moving towards net zero targets.
According to the report, net zero is a priority for 92 per cent or businesses and 68 per cent have made relevant investments, with 22 per cent planning to in the next 12 months
Over the past two years, the cost of energy has been highly turbulent, exacerbated by an increase in operational costs. According to Make UK, this has left manufacturers forced to operate with a reduced margin, making introducing energy efficiency projects an attractive proposition.
The report shows that businesses have been taking a two-pronged approach to reducing energy consumption, from low-cost, low-effort measures to more costly investments that deliver equipment and process upgrades. Steps such as getting the right energy supplier and securing an advantageous contract is critical. Monitoring energy use through smart meters and sub-metering can further cut consumption. One rubber compound manufacturer saved £62,734 through a better energy contract and over £48,000 by reducing waste through circuit-level (sub-meter) monitoring.
Equipping plant machinery with meter reading tools or sensors can offer real-time data access by connecting it to the cloud, enabling faults to be observed as they happen. Implementing voltage optimisation, which only allows the exact amount of energy a business needs to be brought in from the National Grid, can also make savings. Overhauling compressors – which account for 10 per cent of all industrial energy used - can cut energy consumption by 50 per cent.
One company that galvanises plant equipment introduced digital controls to deliver variable on-demand power to its furnaces, saving £400,000 on energy bills and reducing its carbon output by 1,000 tonnes.
In a statement, Faye Skelton, head of policy at Make UK, said: “Britain’s manufacturers have made significant steps to cut carbon emissions and move towards Net Zero.
"But in order to supercharge that journey, business needs government to play its part in driving the process forward.
“To that end, government needs to commit to introducing a National Advisory Energy Service similar to the model of Made Smarter which helps SMEs digitalise their production processes. This should provide smaller funding to companies of up to £20,000, include an energy audit, sub metering and an implementation plan as well as helping businesses access the right funding.
“We need to see also an immediate extension of the 12 months of 100 per cent business rates relief on green plant machinery and equipment and building improvements to three years to reflect the business payback period.”
With the abolition of the Energy Efficiency Taskforce (EETF) which had expected to put forward policy proposals to support greater energy efficiency, Make UK is now calling on government to use the upcoming Autumn Statement to help companies transition to net zero through energy efficiency measures.
Read the full report here: Driving Industrial Energy Efficiencies | Make UK