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The Potential of Smart Technologies and Micro-Generation in UK SMEs

Warren, P; (2017) The Potential of Smart Technologies and Micro-Generation in UK SMEs. Energies , 10 (7) , Article 1050. 10.3390/en10071050. Green open access

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Abstract

Small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up 99% of businesses and contribute 13% of energy demand globally. However, much of the demand-side energy research and policy attention to date has focused on the domestic, large commercial and industrial sectors. Previous research on SMEs has primarily concentrated on the drivers and barriers to the adoption of energy efficiency measures. However, less attention has been given to other areas of demand-side management in SMEs, such as the role of ‘smart’ technologies and micro-generation. The paper aims to contribute to filling this gap. To analyse the potential of smart technologies in UK SMEs, a quantitative model is developed to assess seven categories of smart technologies in ten non-domestic sectors. Overall, the results suggest that smart technologies within the UK SME market offer significant estimated annual energy savings potential of ~£8.6 billion against an estimated energy spend of ~£49.7 billion (representing ~17% savings potential on energy expenditures). From the smart technology categories examined, fleet management, integrated building management systems and smart meters have the potential to offer the greatest energy savings to SMEs, providing estimated total energy savings of ~£7.5 billion annually. To analyse the potential of micro-generation in UK SMEs, interview-based qualitative research was undertaken with 17 SMEs to explore the drivers and barriers to its adoption. The research found that the initial costs, technical feasibility and planning permission on historical buildings were the main barriers, and that the ‘green’ marketing potential of micro-generation, coupled with ethical reasons and feed-in tariffs, were the main drivers.

Type: Article
Title: The Potential of Smart Technologies and Micro-Generation in UK SMEs
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/en10071050
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.3390/en10071050
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2017 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); energy efficiency; demand-side management; smart technologies; energy policy; energy demand
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10064933
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