Prize is huge when it comes to energy savings


The prize is huge. The opportunity exists for industrial businesses in the North West to save £62million on their annual energy bills by adopting new energy technologies such as CHP, battery storage and solar.

Those were the headline figures a report published by energy and services group Centrica last month.

It covered the UK’s major manufacturing and production activities such as steel, mining, chemicals, car manufacturing, machinery and food and drink production, which together account for one quarter of the UK’s entire electricity demand.

The sector has been challenged to improve its energy productivity by 20 per cent by 2030, as set out by the government’s ‘Clean Growth Strategy’.

The research findings suggest that savings could be achieved by adopting distributed energy technology such as new heating and lighting, solar, Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and battery storage.

New energy monitoring technology can also help to identify inefficient machinery and processes, according to the report’s authors.

The report also suggests that if just 50 per cent of businesses in the sector took up energy technology improvements, the city’s productivity and growth could be boosted by £159.7m GVA (Gross Value Added).

Centrica’s research was published to coincide with the official opening of a new combined heat and power (CHP) unit production facility in Salford.

The units work by turning gas into both electricity and heat in one process, saving organisations up to 40 per cent on their energy bills.

CHP units are popular with businesses that want to take a strategic approach to energy use and offer benefits including reduction in energy consumption and carbon emissions, and a stable and resilient energy supply from a firm’s own site.

Centrica already operates one CHP manufacturing facility in Salford, which has produced more than 3,000 units for use in the UK and globally since 1984.

The opening of the factory, which builds CHP plants for a range of customers such as schools, hospitals and industrial facilities, will support the creation of 20 jobs and apprenticeships as the team looks to increase both the size and number of units built.

Alan Barlow, UK&I director at Centrica Business Solutions, said: “The expansion of this facility is a proud moment for us.

“We are the only major company to design and manufacture CHP units in the UK and this investment shows we are continuing our commitment to the North West.”

The business has a 34-year history in the area, having started as a spin-out from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, now the University of Manchester.

CHP units from the facility have been installed in local landmarks and businesses, including Manchester Town Hall and Central Library, as well as being exported to countries as far away as Australia.

On-site generation, such as CHP, reduces an organisation’s reliance on National Grid imported electricity, while allowing them to sell any unused electricity back to the grid.


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