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67% of manufacturers will increase investment in energy management

How new energy strategies can maximise your energy assets’ value and drive competitive advantage

Faced with intense price competition from low-cost economies, UK industrial manufacturers must drive down costs and generate new revenue streams. But, to increase production efficiency and responsiveness to customer demands, manufacturers also need to invest in automation, new production technologies and new business models.

So how do you find the capital?

We believe the answer is by driving greater efficiency, reducing operational costs and capturing new sources of value. All of which can be achieved by taking advantage of new energy technologies.

New technologies, approaches and opportunities

In 2017, reducing costs was ranked as the second top priority for UK industrial manufacturers1. Given the energy intensive processes involved in most industrial manufacturing operations – from heating, cooling, ventilation and compressed air to intensive machine usage, lighting and boilers – energy is a significant cost. And with energy prices unpredictable and likely to rise, you need to adopt a proactive energy management strategy and capitalise on opportunities to drive greater energy efficiency. Already, 74% of automotive manufacturers view energy as a business-critical issue, and 67% plan to increase their investment in energy management in the next 12 months2.

There are a number of ways in which innovative new technologies and new approaches to managing energy can help reduce costs and generate new revenue streams to improve competitiveness and increase efficiency.

Energy insight and sensor solutions, for example, provide visibility of heat, electricity and gas use within production processes. Additionally, real-time, device-level visibility enables inefficiencies to be identified and improvements to be made to operational efficiency.

Another advance is the development of new on-site energy generation technologies, including combined heat and power (CHP). Efficiently converting gas into both electricity and heat in a single process, CHP can cut a site’s energy usage by 25% and deliver energy cost savings of up to 40%3. Renewables (such as solar) and other on-site generation solutions can create a flexible, lower cost energy supply and increase production efficiency.

As a high energy user, you can also benefit from optimisation solutions that reduce energy charges and generate new income streams. Demand Side Response (DSR) programmes, for example, allow you to avoid peak price periods and sell any excess energy back to the grid. While advanced optimisation technologies help by enabling marginal changes in demand profiles, reducing your costs without impacting production processes or compromising product quality.

In a Centrica Business Solutions survey, 56% of manufacturing respondents said that using on-site generation and selling excess capacity to create new sources of revenue was very important to their organisation4.

New approaches to funding and managing energy assets can overcome the capital and resource gaps that often prevent manufacturers from taking advantage of these innovative energy technologies.

Download our Perspective Series article to find out more about how new energy strategies can maximise the value of your energy assets and drive competitive advantage. We highlight the energy strategies you should prioritise to remain competitive against low-cost international competitors and protect yourself against rising input costs.

1Annual manufacturing report 2017, The Manufacturer and Hennik Group
2The future of energy report, Siemens
3Centrica Business Solutions: https://www.centricabusinesssolutions. com/energy-solutions/products/combined-heat-and-power
4Energy Advantage Research, Centrica Business Solutions