The prize is huge. Leeds’ industrial sector alone could save at least £6.3m if its industrial firms adopt new energy technologies such as solar power and battery storage.
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% by 2030, as set out by the government’s ‘Clean Growth Strategy’.
Jorge Pikunic, managing director at Centrica Business Solutions, said: “In 2017, the UK industrial sector used 92 million megawatt hours of energy.
“As well as being a staggering statistic, I believe this is also a clear signal of the opportunity for industrial organisations across Leeds to play their part in the changing energy landscape, while also unlocking the potential of energy to ensure the UK’s position in the global marketplace.
“By exploiting the energy technology of the 21st Century, the city’s industrial sector can inspire a new revolution and help secure business advantage – a particularly important opportunity for the UK as it adapts to life outside the European Union.”
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.