How long will the gas reserves in the Netherlands last, and are we heading for an energy crisis? Such issues are currently a major problem for companies. Reichelt Electronics has asked more than 1,000 companies in Europe – 250 of them in the Netherlands – how the current energy supply situation affects their profitability and what companies are doing to save energy.
Cost explosion hits most businesses hard
71 percent of all companies surveyed say that rising energy prices are already negatively affecting their profitability. Only ten percent are not affected by rising prices. Interestingly, large companies say they are more affected by rising energy costs than small and medium-sized enterprises. About two-thirds of respondents (67%) believe that the long-term price increase will adversely affect their business if this trend continues. 38 percent expect energy costs to rise sharply over the next three years. 37 percent expect a more moderate increase. In addition, 89 percent of respondents also expect a drastic increase in energy costs in the short term.
On the question of the development of the energy market, which causes the greatest damage to their business, more than half (60%) mention rising prices due to dwindling energy supplies. This is followed by a shortage of oil and natural gas due to a lack of imports (34%). On the other hand, less than a third (27%) are concerned about rising investment costs due to more stringent energy costs imposed by the European Parliament.
What can companies do?
Like private individuals, companies have little leeway to influence prices. Companies must therefore take matters into their own hands and seek individual solutions. For example, just under half (40%) of companies already use their own energy – for example via solar panels on the company’s grounds. In addition, 35 percent have set special conditions in their contracts with oil, gas or electricity suppliers.
Specifically, the following measures have already been taken most often in companies:
• 85% – Replacement of all light sources with LEDs
• 71% – Improvement of building insulation
• 62% – Make employees more aware of energy savings
• 61% – Lighting automation
Overcome obstacles for a more energy efficient business
Based on this list, it is clear that most companies have already taken on the concrete and easy tasks. For example, 85 percent have already taken steps to replace light sources with energy-saving LEDs, and more than half of companies (56%) consider their transition in this area to be complete. Other initiatives, on the other hand, whose implementation is more complicated, have not yet found wide acceptance in companies. Take, for example, replacing old machines with new, more efficient machines.
The biggest obstacle for companies is that the payback period is too long or not attractive enough (31%). The motivation to implement energy savings is therefore low. The second biggest obstacle is that energy savings are a complex matter (30%). It is difficult for them to assess the benefits of individual measures, and there is a lack of easily accessible use examples. What are the right and most effective measures? 29% of respondents are sane when it comes to this question.
Now the bigger investments and more drastic changes
“Companies are at a crucial point today,” concludes Holger Engelbrecht, Product Manager Tools & Lighting at Reichelt Electronics. “The first steps towards more energy efficient business operations have already been taken. Now the next challenges await, which will require greater investment from companies and more drastic changes in their energy management. At the same time, we can see the current situation as a wake-up call. Sooner or later, we will have to manage our energy resources more efficiently. “