The government has announced a funding of £8.8 million to help SMEs across the UK cut their energy usage via smart meters.
Through the government’s Industrial Strategy, of those who win they will use their funding to further develop and assess different technologies to help businesses across sectors such as; hospitality, retail and education take on their energy consumption.
Although there are over 11 million smart meters in place across the country amongst consumers and small businesses, there is still a shortage in products specifically aimed at SMEs to help them tackle their energy usage.
With the investment, it is believed that businesses across the UK could save up to a total of £40 billion on their energy over the years to come.
From the Industrial Strategy, winners such as small energy management businesses, Samsung and Toshiba have created clever information systems that will allow businesses to access real-time, modified data on their energy consumption which will able them to monitor their costs by being more effective.
The systems will highlight jumps in their energy uses real-time and suggest ways they can reduce this long-term for example the use of incorrect equipment and ineffective ways of working.
Claire Perry, Energy minister comments;
“The scale of the ambition displayed by the winning projects demonstrates that the UK is ready to lead the world when it comes to helping smaller businesses understand their energy use through smart systems.
“Energy costs for businesses can be one of the hardest things to understand and control, but these projects can change that, as well as help educate the next generation in our schools on the importance of controlling our energy consumption.
“Smart meters are an opportunity for us to rewrite the rules on how we engage with the energy market and these winners will ensure that the benefits can be felt by businesses and schools as well as homes.”
Co-chair of the Institute for Small Business and Enterprises, Professor Audley Genus expressed that he welcomes the scheme which will help SMEs cut their energy bills.
However, he said that “a number of interesting matters’ have risen in correlation with the systems proposed with the concern of over-reliance of smart meters.
“As Horizon 2020-funded research conducted by ISBE social and sustainable enterprises special interest group members have observed, an emphasis on metering technology can obscure the work which needs to be done fundamentally to change energy use practices.
“Secondly, studies by ISBE members and others confirm that the ‘control’ of consumption by SMEs is likely to more effectively and enduringly realised when energy users targeted by policy initiatives play a more proactive role, typically acting collaboratively and not merely as lone agents.”
He concluded with;
“We will have to see to what extent the new proposals are able to exploit these insights and look forward to contributing evidence to inform future policy development in this area.”