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Energy efficient path to survival

16 March 2016

Power management company Eaton has published a paper entitled 'Leading in Energy Efficiency – The Opportunity for Manufacturers' that addresses how, in the face of steadily increasing energy costs, European manufacturers can survive.

Author of the paper, Jonathan Hart, senior manager at Eaton Corporation, said at the UK launch of the paper: “Energy and energy efficiency is such a complex subject currently – especially if you are doing business internationally – that we wanted to distill down our current thinking and highlight the fact that because of the various market forces at work there is a big opportunity right now for manufacturers in Europe to gain real competitive advantage if they can aggressively promote energy efficiency activities and investment.

“However, we are calling from action on both sides of the fence. From both government and private industry. Government needs to look at making tax incentives, such as the Enhanced Capital allowance in the UK, for energy efficient investment easier to access and those in private industry need to use their energy savings to finance investment going forward. We need to use energy efficiency to drive profitability and growth.”

The paper covers energy and market trends, which in the UK is such a fluid picture currently, but looks wider at the ramifications that electricity prices for European businesses are projected to remain the highest amongst the major industrialized countries by 2035, increasing by an average of 24 per cent, according to the IEA’s New Policies Scenario of the World Energy Outlook 2013.

It also covers a wide breadth of business opinion and action and looks at the differing activities across Europe where the approach of the German, French, Italian and Swiss nation are compared and contrasted with actions within the UK

Equally, a major attraction of the positioning paper is its coverage of the different legislation that impacts on energy efficiency across Europe. From the German Energiewende (Energy Transition) central policy document to the French National Energy Efficiency Action Plans (NEEAP) launched in 2014 to the ErP Directive that is targeted at the energy efficiency of electric motors the paper’s broad view enables the reader to quickly find a balanced view.

Lastly the paper addresses the contentious issue of financing and investment and the different approaches of the Governments across Europe. It does so with Eaton’s stated view that financial stimulus from both governments and private industry is needed to kick start investment in energy efficiency.

As Hart says: “A historic level of public-private collaboration is required to deliver much higher energy efficiency investment by 2030 and public funds and legislative action need to blend with private sector investment to ensure competitiveness.”