Global industry is accelerating its investment in energy efficiency in the next five years as the crucial race towards net zero intensifies, a new survey finds. The Energy Efficiency Investment Survey 2022 comes in the wake of a recent UN report calling for concerted action from countries to cut greenhouse emissions at a faster rate.
The global survey conducted by Sapio Research targeted 2,294 companies in 13 countries, ranging in size from 500 to 5,000 or more employees. It offers the latest snapshot of how industries across the world are planning to invest in energy efficiency measures to achieve net zero. A key finding is that more than half (54%) of the companies are already investing, while 40% plan to make energy efficiency improvements this year.
“Significant population and economic growth will accelerate climate change to a critical point if governments and industry don’t intensify their efforts. Growing urbanisation and rising geopolitical tension will also make energy security and sustainability even more critical,” says Tarak Mehta, President of ABB Motion. “Improving energy efficiency is an essential strategy to address these potential crises. Therefore, the acceleration in investment highlighted by this survey is positive news.”
Industrial motor-driven systems, in particular, hold huge potential for energy efficiency measures. Almost two-thirds of the survey respondents are upgrading their equipment to best-in-class efficiency ratings, such as high-efficiency electric motors controlled by variable speed drives.
The report also highlights areas of concern. Half of the respondents listed cost as the biggest barrier to improving energy efficiency and 37% felt downtime was a barrier. Also concerning is that only 41% of respondents felt they had all the information needed regarding energy efficiency measures.
“It is vital to help stakeholders across industry understand that net zero need not mean net cost. Both suppliers and governments have a role to play in promoting the message that adopting energy efficient technology offers a fast return on investment while cutting CO2 emissions. The bottom line is that energy efficiency is good for business and good for the environment,” comments Mehta.
More key learnings from the survey:
- Respondents reported that, on average, 23% of their annual operating costs are attributable to energy usage.
- Nine out of 10 respondents indicated that rising energy costs are at least a minor threat to profitability, while more than half (53%) perceived it as a moderate or substantial threat.
- Despite cost being a significant barrier to investing in improving energy efficiency, cost savings were the most important reason for investing (59%).