Do businesses really view energy as a priority?

clock • 2 min read

Once net zero targets are set, how can firms accelerate their decarbonisation journey without getting stuck in a logistical nightmare when it comes to the green energy challenge?

Even with the net zero agenda, most businesses do not see energy as a priority because - unless they are really energy-intensive - energy is not their biggest cost.

This was a key talking point at BusinessGreen's recent roundtable, sponsored by E.ON, which explored how to enact a net zero energy/technology strategy.

Featuring representatives from organisations including Network Rail, PwC, Turner and Townsend, and more, the discussion focused on the challenges ahead as businesses look to reduce their energy output on their journey towards reach net zero targets. Importantly, the roundtable brought to the fore a range of different views on the net zero challenge - and the difficulty organisations have in establishing a strategy that is right for them.

"People want two-year paybacks on their investments and long-term energy strategies for Net Zero are not going to give you that," said Richard Spencer, head of technical services and operations at E.ON. "That is a challenge for businesses. It's got to be sustainable not just from a carbon perspective but also in terms of a return on investment."

Yet it takes time to transform and there are multiple pathways, including electrification, nature-based solutions, carbon capture and hydrogen. It took Danish energy group Orsted 10 years to make the transformation, the roundtable heard.

The urgent need for - yet difficulty of achieving - immediate change, was apparent in the discussion.

All the companies represented at the roundtable talked of the importance of having a clear and ambitious net zero target set by an engaged board that was willing to prioritise decarbonisation efforts. Without such a mandate from the top, any strategy will struggle to gain traction - and many are.

To read the full article, click here to download The Energy Payback Challenge, a roundtable report featuring representatives from some of the UK's biggest companies who provide insight into the core issues they face when it comes to net zero targets.

This article was sponsored by E.ON.

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