Major UK companies turn to renewables to beat blackouts, says report

black out
Nearly nine out of every ten (88 percent) UK businesses are worried about the security of their energy supply, according to a new report published jointly by the Major Energy Users’ Council (MEUC) and Power Efficiency – part of the Balfour Beatty Group.  

This follows recent warnings by OFGEM that the UK generating capacity is nearly at full stretch. With the planned closure of some coal and nuclear power stations, OFGEM is warning that spare capacity could fall from today’s 14 percent level to just 4 percent in three years, with a risk of ‘brownouts’ and ‘blackouts’ starting in the winter of 2015-16.

The report – Powercut Britain – Are the lights going out for UK business?’ – contains the findings of a survey carried out over the summer of 2013 canvassing the opinions and concerns of major commercial and public sector energy users in the UK today. The combined energy spend of the 129 participating companies, which included 10 per cent of the FTSE 100, is approximately £1 billion per annum.

  • Initiating ‘behavioural change programmes’ (60 percent), investing in renewable energy sources (50 percent) and installing onsite generation (43 percent) are the top three major actions businesses are currently taking to protect security of supply in the future.
  • Nearly two thirds (62 percent) of UK businesses say they have a clearly defined energy and carbon reduction strategy, but a third (33 percent) say they do not have such a strategy in place. 

Commenting on the publication of the report, Andrew Bainbridge, chairman of the MEUC, said: “It is clear that big businesses are becoming increasingly alarmed by the energy perils they face and understand they must stiffen their resolve to actively manage and reduce their costs.” 

Andy Wild, managing director at Power Efficiency, added: “This report highlights the complex issues facing business in the UK today and underlines why we believe the issue of energy management is moving ‘out of the plant room and into the boardroom’. It provides a compelling insight into why managing energy costs and securing security of supply will dominate the agenda of UK businesses wishing to remain competitive in the coming decade.” 

Copies of the report can be downloaded from