More than Half of Businesses Say They Now Generate Electricity Supply Onsite

June 24, 2015
A new survey by Deloitte found that 55 percent of businesses with more than 250 employees generate some portion of their electricity supply onsite — a big jump from last year. In 2014, 44 percent of businesses said they self-generate, and in 2013, 33 percent said they generated a portion of their electricity onsite.

A new study by Deloitte found that 55 percent of businesses say they now generate at least some portion of their electricity supply onsite — a big jump from last year.

In 2014, 44 percent of businesses said they self-generate, and in 2013, 33 percent said they generated a portion of their electricity supply onsite.

The findings were part of the fifth annual Deloitte reSources Study, which focuses on emerging practices and attitudes consumers and businesses have about energy consumption. More than 600 businesses were surveyed for the story, said Marlene Motyka, US alternative energy leader for Deloitte.

The companies tended to be large. Sixty percent employed more than 1,000 people and none had fewer than 250 employees. Sixty-nine percent reported annual revenue that exceeded $100 million.

Technology, media and telecommunications companies make up 67 percent of the on-site generators, according to Deloitte. Health care organizations made up 65 percent of the companies that say they’re generators.

Renewable energy is expected to make up a growing part of the onsite generation.

Thirteen percent of the onsite generators source their electricity from wind or solar, said Motyka. Deloitte predicts that will increase to 16 percent by 2017, she said.

About 9 percent of the onsite generators’ electricity comes from fuel cells, she said.

Combined heat & power (CHP) was the fuel source for 9 percent of the self generators. That’s expected to increase to 10 percent next year.

Onsite generation boosts a company’s electric supply reliability and is a public-relations plus, she said.

“They can guarantee their supply and feel more comfortable about reliability if it’s their own onsite generation,” she said. “It gives them more control for energy management and can be incorporated it into a broader energy management strategy.”

What’s more, when companies generate with renewable energy, it boosts their image, she said.

The study authors concluded that energy management has evolved from a cost-cutting necessity to a strategic commitment.

“A tipping point has been passed: thoughtful deliberate energy consumption has permeated the business psyche, and companies now consider energy management to be an essential aspect of corporate strategy.”

Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they consider reducing electricity costs as essential to staying competitive from a financial perspective and 79 percent of respondents view reducing electricity costs as essential to staying competitive from an image perspective. That’s the highest percentage since the study was first conducted in 2011, Deloitte said.

In addition, 93 percent said they have invested funds in energy management programs over the last three years.

“This shift is occurring despite relatively low electricity prices and moderate expectations of future increases. Energy management is becoming a core business discipline – for companies of all sizes, not just enterprises,” Deloitte found.

About the Author

Lisa Cohn | Contributing Editor

I focus on the West Coast and Midwest. Email me at [email protected]

I’ve been writing about energy for more than 20 years, and my stories have appeared in EnergyBiz, SNL Financial, Mother Earth News, Natural Home Magazine, Horizon Air Magazine, Oregon Business, Open Spaces, the Portland Tribune, The Oregonian, Renewable Energy World, Windpower Monthly and other publications. I’m also a former stringer for the Platts/McGraw-Hill energy publications. I began my career covering energy and environment for The Cape Cod Times, where Elisa Wood also was a reporter. I’ve received numerous writing awards from national, regional and local organizations, including Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Willamette Writers, Associated Oregon Industries, and the Voice of Youth Advocates. I first became interested in energy as a student at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, where I helped design and build a solar house.

Twitter: @LisaECohn

Linkedin: LisaEllenCohn

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