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Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) Consultation: The Future of ESOS

23rd August 2021
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has recently launched a new consultation called “Strengthening ESOS”. This focuses on proposals to broaden the current reporting requirements for ESOS and increase the adoption of energy efficiency measures by participating businesses.

ESOS has so far resulted in estimated annual energy savings of 1.65TWh from buildings, 1.51TWh from industrial processes, and 0.52TWh of fuel efficiency savings. However, there is still scope to go further and the consultations suggest government know there is much-needed room for improvement in the quality of ESOS Assessments.

Improving energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective mechanisms for businesses to reduce their carbon emissions and the associated, subsequent footprint, whilst also reducing their energy spend – the cheapest kWh is the one you do not use. Adopting a holistic approach to energy efficiency can also bring broader business benefits such as improved working conditions, a better customer experience, more efficient operational processes, reduced maintenance costs, and enhanced sustainability credentials.

Energy efficiency is also a key measure to enable the UK in meeting interim carbon reduction targets, as unlike the adoption of some new technologies that will be needed to drive decarbonisation, many energy efficiency measures are already well-established and proven methods that are cost-effective for businesses to deploy.

The aims of the measures outlined in the current consultation are:

  • To increase the number of ESOS participants that take action to reduce energy use by raising the quality of their ESOS audit.
  • To increase the carbon and cost savings from ESOS by increasing the number and scope of ESOS recommendations taken up by participants.
  • To ensure that the ESOS recommendations are consistent with the UK’s net-zero commitments.

 

To achieve the outlined measures the consultation proposes a tranche of proposed changes that include:

  • Standardisation of information provided in reports and auditing methods.
  • Tighten site sampling requirements, use of de minimis exemptions, and use of energy data.
  • Include metrics that allow participants to better judge their energy performance.
  • More information about the performance of participants in relation to energy management, behaviour change, and how it can be improved.
  • Ensuring that assessors are trained and monitored so they continue to meet the required standards.
  • Seek views on how ESOS can address net zero through an assessment of participating businesses’ GHG emissions in addition to their energy use, along with the potential for decarbonisation.
  • Address how public disclosure would work with Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting.
  • Seek views on extending ESOS to medium-sized enterprises.
  • Scope for encouraging uptake of ESOS recommendations, including potentially mandating action, to ensure that businesses take up their energy efficiency recommendations.

 

The proposed changes to the ESOS Regulations are being considered for Phase 3, subject to the outcome of the consultation. This could result in the need for participants to make changes to reporting from their Phase 3 ESOS report onwards. Some of the suggested changes may take longer to implement and would potentially be in place for the Phase 4 ESOS report and any future phases.

The Impact Assessment for the consultation projects that the proposed measures could yield energy savings of between 19TWh and 93TWh in the period from 2023 to 2037.

Inenco currently reports on ESOS to a very high standard, have a 100% audit pass rate, and are confident that our reports already meet the requirements of some of the proposed changes. Furthermore, we currently have 10 highly trained and experienced lead assessors at our disposal, who will lead and provide advice where needed. Whilst the consultation is still ongoing, we are recommending to all our clients to get a head start on ESOS Phase 3 as surveys can be carried out now to the requisite standard.

If you are a business captured by ESOS, you can now benefit from our ESOS service; a solution designed to help you get a head start on the ESOS journey and to reduce the administrative hassle that comes with it. We have guided over 449 organisations through ESOS Phase 1 & 2 – more than any other independent consultancy in the UK – achieving a 100% Environmental Agency audit compliance rate.

Get in touch with one of our ESOS experts on 01253 785294