The Government’s financial support for businesses trying to survive the UK energy crisis is a welcome gesture, but the Energy Bill Relief Scheme is at best a short term fix to a problem that many businesses have been facing for years, is the message from one Telford-based specialist manufacturer.
Wayne Carter, managing director at Fabweld Steel Products (FSP), says what businesses really need is sustainable, long term solutions and the opportunity to become self sufficient – starting the Government’s bid to boost homegrown energy supply on our own doorsteps, not in new gas and oil fields.
“We started on our sustainability journey a few years ago as we wanted to take steps to make our operations net zero because it was the right thing to do,” says Wayne. “But we were also keen to become self sufficient as a business. Energy costs have been going up every year, albeit this year the increases have been accelerated by the war in Ukraine. It’s challenging to plan for the future of your business when you don’t know what your energy outgoings are going to be from one year to the next.
“Rather than giving businesses a six-month hiatus in their already spiralling energy costs, why isn’t the Government helping us to invest in renewable energy generation so we can make more of the power we use? Why not help educate business owners about energy efficiency and subsidise new technologies so we have more control over how much we spend on gas and electricity?
“What happens after this six months of financial support runs out? The business community can’t keep taking the price rises, we have to put ourselves back in control.”
FSP is currently implementing its plans for self sufficiency, including investing in solar panels and battery storage to make and store its own green electricity, purchasing a nitrogen generation system to be run on green power, and buying electric fleet cars and fork lift trucks as alternatives to petrol and diesel models when they need replacing.
Wayne adds: “Self sufficiency is the only sustainable and profitable way to do business, and the Government need to take action on this before the price freezes thaw in April 2023. Otherwise, the Energy Bill Relief Scheme is merely kicking the can down the road.”