Drives and Controls Magazine
UK manufacturers worry about energy – but don’t do much
Published:  31 May, 2024

A new survey of British manufacturers reveals that they are concerned about issues such as energy prices and net-zero, but are not doing much to tackle these topics.

The survey was commissioned by Mitsubishi Electric and questioned 200 senior decision-makers in UK manufacturing about how the sector can increase its resilience to energy pressures.

The results, published in a report called Energy on an Industrial Scale, show that while 85% say that working towards net-zero is a key part of their business – and 70% have been asked to report on scope 1/2/3 emissions for a tender process – only 35% are currently implementing net-zero programmes in their own operations.

The survey also found that 91% of respondents were concerned about energy price security and 85% about grid resilience. But only 24% have full on-site energy management systems and just 27% employ dedicated energy managers.

According to David Bean, business development group manager at Mitsubishi Electric Automation Systems UK, these disparities reveal a clear disconnect between thought and action to resolve an acute, ongoing and potentially worsening problem.

“These statistics are not only eye-opening at face value, they need to be considered within the context of how energy pricing has changed in the past few years,” he says. “The sector is just coming out of one of the worst energy crises in modern memory, and the impact of this price volatility is yet to be fully felt.

David Bean: eye-opening statistics

“Despite the clear concerns about the effect of energy price security and grid resilience identified in this report, the industry has not yet taken crucial steps to mitigate further fluctuations,” Bean adds. “With costs now resembling something approaching ‘normal’, it is an ideal time for decision-makers to reconsider these energy strategies and address potential uncertainty.”

Bean suggests that manufacturers need to understand their goals and take small, but necessary, steps with a tangible ROIs to achieve an energy strategy based on digitalisation to improve their decarbonisation, energy resilience and carbon footprints.

“This report provides a much-needed snapshot of the manufacturing sector’s most pressing challenges, and underlines why decision-makers can no longer delay action,” Bean concludes. “However, the pressures and instability affecting the industry may have made businesses reluctant to do so."

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