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Government aims to give firms more control over energy use

Government aims to give firms more control over energy use

Government aims to give firms more control over energy use

Businesses could have more control over their energy consumption - and consequently their costs - under a new plan outlined by the government and industry regulator Ofgem.

Introducing the measures, business and energy secretary Greg Clark said they will "transform" how commercial and domestic energy users consume and store their power.

One of the main objectives of the initiative is to create a "smarter, more flexible energy system", partly by removing barriers to smart and battery technology, which in turn will reduce costs for businesses and homes.

It is hoped that methods such as smart meter rollout, enabling suppliers to offer lower tariffs and facilitating the development of smart appliances and gadgets will help users access energy when it is most affordable. There could also be rewards available to businesses that maximise efficiency by returning unused power to the grid.

Another key element of the transition to a smart power grid is energy storage, partly through the use of battery technologies. The government and Ofgem have made a commitment to removing barriers to the introduction of these innovations, to ensure the industry and customers can benefit from them.

Other aspects of the plan include a target to make it easier for new businesses to support customers that want to adjust their energy use at certain times. This could help to even out the burden of demand across the electricity network.

Discussing the new initiative, Andrew Wright, senior partner for energy systems at Ofgem, pointed out that the way energy is generated and used in Britain is "changing rapidly".

"Today's plan sets out how Ofgem, government and the industry will work together to modernise the energy system and make sure consumers get the benefits of the changes," he continued.

"We want to open the door to new technologies and services so that they can help to reduce bills for consumers in the long term. It is vital that we get the changes in place as there is potential for a smarter system to save consumers billions between now and 2050."

Lord Adonis, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, said the energy sector is going through a "revolution" that could deliver tangible benefits for end users - most notably increased efficiency, flexibility and value for money.

For businesses that are serious about improving energy efficiency and lowering costs, one of the most exciting current trends is the growth of renewable energy.

Sources such as wind and solar power now generate more than a quarter of the UK's electricity, much of which is located close to homes and commercial properties.

Companies can also do their bit for the environment by encouraging eco-friendly practices in the workplace, such as going paperless, minimising the amount of waste sent to landfill and using energy efficient appliances.

Commercial customers of cleaning firms and other service providers should also ensure they choose suppliers with strong green credentials and sustainable working methods.

 

Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of iStock/Yozayo