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UK manufacturing data finds disconnect between industry priorities and actions to address energy price volatility

A report has found a disconnect’ between the UK manufacturing sector’s views on volatile energy pricing and action taken on-site to address these concerns. ‘Energy on an Industrial Scale’, commissioned by Mitsubishi Electric, surveyed 200 senior decision-makers working in UK manufacturing about how the sector can increase its overall resilience. It found that 91 per cent of respondents expressed concern over energy price security and 85 per cent were worried about grid resilience.

Despite this, only 24 per cent of those questioned had a fully implemented on-site energy management system and just 27 per cent employed a dedicated energy manager. According to David Bean, Business Development Group Manager at Mitsubishi Electric Automation Systems UK, the disparity in these statistics demonstrates 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,” Bean said. “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.

“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. With costs now resembling something approaching normal, it is an ideal time for decision-makers to reconsider these energy strategies and address potential uncertainty.”

The report paints a similar picture of decarbonisation pressures. Whilst 85 per cent of those surveyed said working towards net zero was a key part of their business and 70 per cent stated they had been asked to report on scope 1/2/3 emissions for a tender process, only 35 per cent were currently implementing net zero within their operations.

Bean is advocating manufacturers to understand their goal and take small but necessary steps with a tangible ROI in order to achieve an energy strategy based on digitalisation to improve decarbonisation, energy resilience and carbon footprint.

“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,” he concluded. “However, the pressures and instability affecting the industry may have made businesses reluctant to do so.

“But by starting small and implementing new tools and technologies including energy management systems, site teams, senior managers can access meaningful data needed to make these necessary decisions. It doesn’t matter where you are on your energy journey, we can help businesses develop a roadmap to a greener and more resilient future.”

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