Energy efficiency critical to power utilities’ future profitability: survey

Almost nine executives out of 10 in the manufacturing and power utilities sectors say they expect energy efficiency to be critical to profitability over the next two decades, according to a survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit as part of a global overview of trends in energy efficiency published by ABB.

Almost three-quarters of respondents also expect their companies to invest more in improving energy efficiency over the next three years than in the past year. However, many cite a lack of information and clear efficiency benchmarks as reasons for a gap between awareness and action on energy efficiency, the survey shows.

The EIU analysis is based on a global survey of almost 350 senior executives and on in-depth interviews.
The complete survey results are published by ABB in “Trends in global energy efficiency 2011”, together with a global overview of energy efficiency in industry and utilities by Enerdata, an independent information and consulting company specialised in the global energy industry and carbon market.

The data is from a large variety of public sources, and comes together here in the most comprehensive overview of energy efficiency in industry and utilities that is publicly available.

“Our aim is to raise awareness about the opportunities to save costs and reduce environmental impact offered by energy efficiency,” said Axel Kuhr, country manager for ABB in Australia. “Understanding the potential is an important first step in the journey toward using energy more productively.”

The global data show that there have been substantial improvements in energy-intensive industries, including power generation, over the past 20 years. However, significant potential for using energy more efficiently still exists.

The data show, for example, that:
• the energy consumption of the steel industry could be reduced by 40 percent if the main producing countries had the same efficiency as the world’s best performer; and
• carbon dioxide emissions per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated would be reduced by 20 percent if the energy efficiency of thermal power generation globally could be raised to the average of the top 10 countries.

“Trends in global energy efficiency 2011” also includes in-depth reviews of the countries that are part of the G-20 group (including Australia). Collectively, these countries account for about three-quarters of the world’s energy consumption.