The recent power outage will be “a real trigger point for new thought” about how manufacturers and other business users think about their energy use, said Rosa Wilkinson, head of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.
She said considering that energy future – like reducing carbon emissions – had to start on the factory floor. It had to consider energy use and not just generating and transmitting it.
Wilkinson was speaking at a fringe meeting on industrial strategy at the Labour Party conference. Also on the panel, Lee Hopley, chief economist at EEF, agreed that there should be more local decision-making over energy issues such as accommodating higher demand.
She also spoke about the demand side, saying the quality of the UK’s industrial building stock was ‘woeful’ but companies were penalised by hikes in local business rates if they tried to invest in environmental technologies. “That will only change with a change in attitudes among planners and local authorities”, she said.