The 'Panama Papers' of effective energy management
As the impact of the biggest leak in the history of data journalism continues to snowball around the world, an equally compelling document came across the edie editorial desk this week - a document that contains information that could surprise the CEOs of some of Britain's biggest organisations.
It was the (purposeful) release of a sample of ESOS audits carried out by the Carbon Trust, and – unlike the Panama Papers – this data trove offers up only positive news for those keen to tap into hidden wealth.
Energy cost reductions achievable through the implementation of efficiency opportunities identified by ESOS audits are in the region of 20%, which equates to £360,000 for the average qualifying company. The Environment Agency had previously suggested that the Scheme could collectively save businesses £250m if just 5% reductions in energy bills were achieved following ESOS audits. So, could UK PLC in fact be sitting on £1bn of energy-saving opportunities?
The real proof of success for ESOS will be in the rates of implementation of energy-saving measures. But for now, one thing is for sure: organisations from across both the public and private sectors are waking up to the multitudinous benefits of energy efficiency and low-carbon initiatives, regardless of mandatory assessment schemes. A quick search of this topic on edie brings up a laundry list of financial savings prompted by even the most simple efficiency improvements.
- Hospitality giant Whitbread – which this week confirmed the expansion of its ‘zero-energy’ Costa coffee shop concept – is now saving £280,000 a year thanks to rooftop solar systems on its Premier Inn estate.
- Dairy producer First Milk has bagged itself a nest egg of £3m a year by installing Europe’s first cheese-to-grid AD plant at its Cumbrian creamery.
- Nottingham City Council is in line for £10,000-a-year savings after a solar carport was developed at a local leisure centre.
- Stirling Council expects to net £31m over the next 30 years in energy cost savings by retrofitting 16,000 lamp posts with LEDs.
… The above initiatives were all announced in the past month alone as energy efficiency evidentially rises up the corporate agenda at record rates. Meanwhile, demand response is fast-becoming another big energy-related financial opportunity for energy-intensive industry - which could do with a new revenue stream, given the current state of affairs.
Of course, funding some of these green schemes remains a big challenge for many. But, with almost half of ESOS participants reportedly having to make estimates to determine their total energy consumption, it is clear that a general improvement of energy management practices and behaviours - which require minimal investment to implement – can, in itself, provide a windfall for organisations large and small.
And, as next week’s edie Effective Energy Management Conference will inevitably prove, if you are able to achieve the holy grail of cost-effective technology upgrades, on-site solutions and successful behaviour change programmes, then you could find yourself cashing in a money-making opportunity that even the most rapacious of Panama-listed oligarchs would be proud of.
And we haven’t even touched on the (more important) list of environmental benefits.Luke Nicholls