New research suggests that winter gas crisis threatens key net zero investment


Following the gas shortage that has seen energy prices dramatically rise this winter, new research has found that 80 per cent of senior decision makers in the UK’s most energy intensive industries are concerned about these rises, putting at stake their planned investments to electrify their businesses and reach net zero.

With more than 90 per cent of these companies, from manufacturing to transportation, planning to invest more than seven per cent of revenues in the next five years in reaching net zero, more than a third are now considering cancelling planned investments to deal with the gas crisis.

Examples of such investments could include increasing energy efficiency, installing electric vehicle chargers, or installing on-site energy generators like solar panels. Almost seven in ten (69 per cent) of respondents think that their business will need to upgrade its energy infrastructure in light of net zero but despite this, the availability of helpful information remains a serious stumbling block. Around a third of the poll’s respondents (31 per cent) were receiving no advice or guidance in relation to their business’s future energy needs.

89 per cent of these businesses have already made the shift to more renewable tariffs, with the switch to electric vehicles, energy efficiency and increasing their self-generation of energy seen as their top three areas for action to reduce emissions and tackle climate change.

The study of over 500 senior decision makers at UK businesses was commissioned by Vattenfall, the leading European energy company, with the company now calling on businesses to seek out the right support to keep net zero plans on track, especially in installing the networks they need to succeed.

Stewart Dawson, managing director of Vattenfall Networks, said: “Networks are the glue which hold together the pieces of the net zero puzzle. Businesses across the UK are clearly alive to the need to tackle climate change and reach net zero. But without the right investment in their networks and systems, plans to switch to electric vehicles and increase their self-generation will have to be shelved if their networks cannot cope.

“The decisions they make now will make or break their plans to tackle climate change. We need to make it easier for businesses to gain access to the advice and support to show the options available to them to reach net zero in the most affordable way possible.

“Investment in networks needs to reach the top of the list for business leaders for their plans to go electric to stay on track. Across Europe we are working in partnership with big energy users to help them future proof their networks. What this means in practice is not just about looking ahead to their likely demand and how it can be managed smartly, but also looking at ways in which the potential significant costs of installing the energy networks they need in a cost-effective way – reducing the capital burden on already stretched resources.”

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