A survey by British Gas business identified the barriers to energy investment and a £4bn cost-saving opportunity.

British Gas was the headline sponsor of the Energy Live Future conference at the Leicester’s National Space Centre, which took place on 7 June.

The event attracted more than 200 of the UK’s largest energy users, experts and innovators who shared their views on the future of energy with Gab Barbaro, Managing Director of British Gas business.

Both businesses and public sector organisations expressed their concern that political uncertainty and difficulties gaining boardroom approval are presenting major barriers to making energy investments.

They also described the growing pressure to reduce costs and convince senior management about the need to take control of their energy needs.

More than a third (38%) of delegates at the event, agreed that reducing energy costs remained the central energy issue for large organisations. This was closely followed by the challenge of convincing business leaders to allow investment in new technology (35%).

Nearly half (48%) of delegates suggested that political uncertainty, caused by the General Election, Brexit and changing regulation, could make it even more difficult for them to make significant energy changes.

Despite these challenges, British Gas business urged UK businesses and the public sector to embrace the disruptive trends and technologies that are transforming the UK’s energy landscape, as they present a unique opportunity for large energy users.

Barbaro said: “My challenge to business leaders is to get smart and be more proactive about their energy use. Businesses must think long-term rather than be swayed by current political or economic uncertainty – there are countless opportunities for organisations to save money on their bills today, by getting to grips with how it’s being used and taking action where it’s being wasted.”

When asked what would be the biggest energy trend of the coming decade, more than half of delegates (56%) believed that battery storage would be most important, followed by using demand-management technology through the Internet of Things (31%) and generating all of your own energy from on-site generation (12%).

space centre

British Gas business showed delegates how to overcome their energy issues by adopting three principles:

✓ Smarter buying of energy

✓ More intelligent use of energy resources

✓ Greater control over energy use through initiatives such as on-site generation or demand management technology

A variety of new and emerging energy technologies were on show at the event including the latest generation and storage products on offer to customers through Centrica’s Distributed Energy & Power business.

Several other influential businesses took part at the future-gazing event, including Microsoft, EY and Tesla. Delegates learned how to make use of block chain technology and the smart grid, and gave their verdict on current energy technologies during the ‘Energy Tech Tinder’ session.

Stephen Church, Partner at EY, said: “The industry is changing at a pace that has never been experienced before. This is the age of the empowered customer – and disruptive technology is at its very heart. Now the industry must rise to new challenges and embrace this change and disruption if it’s to make of the most of the ever arising new opportunities.”

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