Businesses are facing lower growth prospects and are considering cutting the number of people they employ because of energy price increases, according to a new survey.
The vast majority – 83 per cent – of organisations say they will not meet business growth targets because of energy price hikes, according to the poll published today. A further 43 per cent said they would miss their 2013 targets by 10 per cent and more than half – 60 per cent – said they were now considering staff cuts because of the impact of rising energy costs.
Today’s survey by One Poll on behalf of energy saving consultancy Energy Works PLC was published as the National Audit Office (NAO) said the UK could expect energy prices to outstrip inflation until at least 2030. It was conducted in October as some of the Big Six energy companies announced a new round of inflation-busting price increases.
“Unless we take urgent actions it is clear that the economic prosperity of the country is at risk,” Derek Duffill, CEO of Energy Works, said.
The Energy Works survey interviewed owners at 200 businesses across sectors such as finance, hospitality, property, construction, government and public services sectors. All had annual electricity bills of between £30,000 and £1 million.
Read the rest of the article at Green Wise.
Will you be attending the UK’s biggest and best lighting event? UKLED will be exhibiting at LuxLive on stand H24, Wednesday 20 – Thursday 21 November.
This year’s event will feature more than 50 hours of talks, and is entirely free – simply register here.
Check back here in the coming weeks for details of what will be featuring on UKLED’s stand.
BRE along with partners Sustainable Development Capital Ltd have launched a new scheme to provide capital investment for non-domestic energy efficiency retrofit projects in the UK.
The new Green Retrofit Investment Programme has up to £100 million available for investment in building retrofit projects and energy infrastructure projects where clear energy and carbon emissions savings will result. £50m of the fund has come from the Government’s Green Investment Bank.
The scheme will support projects that deliver reduction in energy demand, cost and greenhouse gas emissions for four areas:
- Building retrofits
- Renewable heat
- Combined heat and power (CHP)
- Urban infrastructure
The fund is open to projects of £2 million plus and provides backing for up to 100% of project cost.
Read the full press release here.
Plans to convert Scotland’s streetlights to LEDs are being considered for funding from the Green Investment Bank (GIB), as part of the Scottish Government’s efforts to make the country greener.
Rural affairs and environment secretary Richard Lochhead has said the savings made from the change would make the LED project ‘ideal’ for GIB funding.
Speaking at a Green Investment Bank conference in Edinburgh last month, Lochhead said, ‘Payback time is estimated at around seven to nine years, which is an outstanding spend to save case based on energy savings of as much as 40 to 60 per cent.
‘Analysis by the Scottish Futures Trust indicates that an investment of £350 million in low-carbon measures across the Scottish public estate could lead to potential cost reductions in the region of £900 million.’
The nationwide project is part of a number of energy-efficiency programmes being looked at, but work goes on to assess how much the UK GIB will invest in these projects and what structures will support the investment.
The plan is one of a number of energy-efficiency programmes that the Scottish Government is considering.
Read the original article in this month’s edition of Lux Magazine.
Will you be attending the world’s largest facilities management event? UKLED will be exhibiting
UKLED's 2012 Stand
on stand 2H116 at the NEC Facilities Show, 14-16 May.
Do you want to cut the lighting costs of your factory or warehouse? Reduce your office’s carbon footprint? Improve the quality of lighting in your shop, restaurant or hotel? Visit us at the show where our expert lighting consultants will be waiting to help you find a solution to your lighting requirements.
Lighting consultant Alex Mackenzie has this to say about the show:
“This will be my third time at the show and each year it exceeds my expectations, not only in how we can solve our customers’ problems with our products but that the awareness of LED grows each year. Our clients are realising more and more that it’s not if but when with LED in their businesses.
Lighting Consultants Jan McSkimming and Alex Mackenzie (left and right) and Technician Richard Mason (centre).
“I look forward to meeting new customers and old alike. Come along and have a chat. See you there!”
UKLED’s stand will feature our complete range of products, from spot lights to retrofit tubes and panels, to flood lights and high bays.
Whether you’re interested in saving money or reducing your carbon footprint, want to discover the cost of your existing lighting system of improve the quality of light in your building – come and visit us on stand 2H116. We’ll be waiting to help you.
Don’t forget to register now to avoid the £30 on site
The government has imposed a minimum price for companies emitting carbon, despite concerns that the measure will drive up energy bills while having a negligible impact on global greenhouse gas emissions.
The new carbon floor price, which came into effect today, will see firms charged £16 per tonne of CO2 for fuels used for power generation this year.
The move is designed to provide a long-term price signal for low-carbon investors and will increase gradually every year to reach the Treasury’s goal of £30 per tonne by the end of the decade, and £70 per tonne in 2030.
But businesses and green groups have consistently warned that in setting a carbon floor price that is significantly higher than the rest of Europe, the Treasury will simply drive heavy energy users out of the UK, a problem dubbed “carbon leakage”.
According to figures published last week by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), an average energy intensive business will pay £130,000 for the carbon floor price in 2013, rising to £1.1m in 2020.
The EU Emissions Trading System has been in meltdown over the past 12 months, caused by the economic crisis and a surplus of carbon allowances. Prices are currently languishing well below €5 per tonne, compared to a €37.78 high in 2008.
Reg Platt, senior research fellow at think tank IPPR, yesterday warned that without action in Europe to prop up the ailing carbon price the UK’s carbon floor price will fail to drive down emissions.
Research by IPPR has found that the floor price will push up the wholesale cost of electricity by 17 per cent in 2015/6 compared to today’s price, undermining the competitiveness of British industry.
The floor price could also provide £1.2bn in profits for the nuclear and wind energy companies over the next three years, as they will be exempt from the price floor, the report said.
Meanwhile, the carbon floor price is expected to raise £4.42bn for the government over the next three years but could push 30,000 to 60,000 households into fuel poverty during this year alone.
“Green industries offer huge potential for unleashing economic growth and creating jobs but there are far better ways to support them than through this tax,” said Platt.
“The key test now is whether the Treasury pursues an ambitious EU-wide strategy on climate policy.”
A spokeswoman for DECC said the floor price was expected to drive down energy bills in the long term.
“The carbon floor price is designed to drive £30-40bn of new investment in low-carbon technology, encouraging green growth and driving down electricity prices in the long term,” she said.
The government has also revealed plans for a £250m support package to help heavy industry cope with the impact of the government’s planned carbon floor price.
Read the original article at Business Green.
There is significant demand for low-energy lighting in the UK’s manufacturing sector, according to a survey commissioned by GE.
The survey of 405 high-tech manufacturers, carried out in November and December 2012, found that more energy efficient lighting was the energy-saving option most likely to have been considered, beating off other measures such as insulation, solar power, and combined heat and power.
Overall, about half of the businesses questioned said they had considered some kind of power-generation or efficiency measures to make their energy supply cheaper and more secure. Eighty-one per cent of those that had thought about such changes had considered lighting.
Energy use was a key concern – with 84 per cent of the manufacturers surveyed saying they were worried about rising energy costs. However, less than half voiced concern about carbon emissions.
On the whole, the survey found the sector ‘cautiously upbeat’, GE said. UK CEO Mark Elborne said: ‘The UK has a strong manufacturing heritage and there is good potential to build on this.’
Read the original article in this month’s edition of Lux Magazine.
The government is looking into ways to slash energy demand by encouraging homes and businesses to install low-energy lighting and controls.
A consultation on ways to reduce electricity demand, which was launched alongside the Energy Bill in November, will run until the end of January.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change believes that a quarter of the potential energy savings to be made in homes by 2030 could be achieved by eliminating incandescent lamps. More than a third of savings in the public sector could come from lighting and controls.
The government says the major barrier to adoption of new lighting technologies in the residential sector is a lack of awareness. In commercial buildings the main problems are lengthy payback periods on lighting upgrades and the fact that the person using a building and paying the bills is not always the one with the authority to make changes.
The Lighting Industry Association (LIA) has welcomed the consultation and will be making a full response on how good quality lighting can help reduce electricity use.
Read the original article in this month’s edition of Lux Magazine.
As more and more organisations seek to improve their environmental performance, the installation of energy-efficient lighting can be a viable way to cut costs and boost a company’s green credentials.
So where do lighting upgrades appear on a business’s to-do list when they’re looking to go green or reduce their carbon emissions? Is it high on the agenda or does it get overlooked? Are companies even aware of the benefits? And is the initial investment just too daunting?
White heat of technology
Technological developments in the lighting industry in recent years have been ‘breathtaking’ says Geoff Smyth, head of technology and partnerships at the Carbon Trust. Thanks to the ‘innovation and ingenuity’ of lighting manufacturers, modern lighting systems can offer massive savings – but not everyone has caught on yet.
Smyth adds: ‘In our experience the speed of technological developments has been missed by some companies.’
In his view, there are a number of barriers to increased investment, including a general lack of awareness in businesses of ‘the cost of lighting and the opportunity that exists to upgrade to modern, more efficient lighting systems’, and a lack of confidence in the solutions being promoted or marketed to them.
‘We have seen many businesses reduce their lighting energy costs by more than half – however, for some businesses the old adage of “if it sounds too good to be true it is too good to be true” wins through and reinforces inertia,’ says Smyth.
Toby Marlow, sustainable development manager at John Lewis Partnership, says: ‘I think in the main, educated and well-informed companies are aware of the benefits. The supply chain can help in this by honestly describing these benefits and look to long-term relationships as opposed to short-term gain. With business difficult for many companies, it is difficult to balance capital and operational expenditure, however, with good communication I do feel that energy efficiency in lighting and other aspects is coming higher profile for businesses.’
In the current climate of austerity, the need for organisations to be confident of a return on their investment is particularly pressing in the public sector. Moreover, in critical facilities such as hospitals, management must be assured that the inevitable disruption caused by a lighting refurbishment is minimised. Bill Dickson, environment manager at The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, says the trust managed to install LED lighting in the ‘vast majority’ of corridors without any disruption to activities in the A&E department and operating theatres.
‘I think the payback is pretty quick compared with other energy-saving initiatives,’ says Dickson, ‘but you must buy good products – you know the old saying “you only get what you pay for”, and I believe that. LED lighting has made the hospital corridors and other areas a lot more welcoming.’
Read the rest of the article in this month’s edition of Lux Magazine.
Fast approaching, if largely unnoticed, is yet another massive shock the Government has in store for us with its weirdly distorted energy policy. It is surprising to see what an abnormally high proportion of the electricity needed to keep our lights on has lately been coming from coal-fired power stations. Last Wednesday evening, for instance, this was over 50 per cent, with only 1.3 per cent coming from wind power. Yet by next March, we learn, five of our largest coal-fired plants, capable of supplying a fifth of our average power needs, are to be shut down, much earlier than expected, under an EU anti-pollution directive.
One reason why these plants are being hammered through their remaining quota of hours allowed by the EU is that a new UK tax comes into force next April, which aims to make fossil-fuel power significantly more expensive. In 2012, George Osborbne announced his intention to impose, from April 2013, a “carbon floor price” of £16 on every tonne of CO2 emitted by British industry, rising to £30 a tonne by 2020 and £70 a tonne by 2030.
An explicit purpose of this tax is to make the cost of electricity from fossil fuels so uncompetitive compared with “renewables” that it will, in the Treasury’s words, “drive £30-£40 billion” of investment into “low carbon” sources such as wind and nuclear. On paper, the effect of Osborne’s new tax on our electricity bills looks devastating.
Using the latest figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), our power plants burnt 40 million tonnes of coal in 2011, emitting 116 million tonnes of CO2. They also generated 175,000 gigawatt hours from gas, at just over half a tonne of CO2 per gigawatt. At £16 a tonne, this CO2 would cost £3.5 billion – on top of our total current wholesale electricity cost of some £19 billion. Thus the new impost would represent nearly 20 per cent added to our electricity bills next year, and would almost double them by 2030.
Some of this, however, we already pay through the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), which counts towards our £16 floor price. Osborne’s calculation in 2010 was that, initially, we would have to chip in less than an additional £2 per tonne to make up the £16 price. (The ETC price at that time was predicted top continue rising towards £40.) Since then, however, with falling demand due to the EU’s recession, the price of EU carbon permits has fallen dramatically. To reach the initial £16 level, the Treasury says we will now have to pay nearly another £5, making our electricity significantly more expensive. But since it made that guess the EU price has slipped still further, to well under £6 – leaving a gap of £10 a tonne to be made up by Osborne’s tax, rapidly rising every year thereafter.
Thus, to meet that tax level in the years after 2013, we in Britain will have to pay electricity bills soaring to a level far higher than any others in Europe. All this is to promote the building of thousands more heavily subsidised windmills, which will in turn require us to build more gas-fired power stations to provide back-up for the constant fluctuations in wind speed. And these will be paying Mr Osborne’s fast-rising tax on all the CO2 they emit, with the bill to be picked up by the rest of us on a scale which, within 18 years, could alone almost double the cost of our electricity.
In short, the Treasury has made an incredibly damaging miscalculation. Even if there is little chance that our Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, could get his head round such lunacy, perhaps someone might lay out for Mr Osborne the bill that his delusional new tax is going to land us all with.
Read the original article on The Telegraph