A new study by Deloitte found that 55 percent of businesses say they now generate at least some portion of their electricity supply onsite — a big jump from last year. In 2014, 44 percent of businesses said they self-generate, and in 2013, 33 percent said they generated a portion of their electricity supply onsite.
The findings were part of the fifth annual Deloitte reSources Study, which focuses on emerging practices and attitudes consumers and businesses have about energy consumption. More than 600 businesses were surveyed for the story, said Marlene Motyka, US alternative energy leader for Deloitte. The companies tended to be large. Sixty percent employed more than 1,000 people and none had fewer than 250 employees. Sixty-nine percent reported annual revenue that exceeded $100 million. Technology, media and telecommunications companies make up 67 percent of the on-site generators, according to Deloitte. Health care organizations made up 65 percent of the companies that say they’re generators.
Renewable energy is expected to make up a growing part of the onsite generation. Thirteen percent of the onsite generators source their electricity from wind or solar, said Motyka. Deloitte predicts that will increase to 16 percent by 2017, she said. About 9 percent of the onsite generators’ electricity comes from fuel cells, she said. Combined heat & power (CHP) was the fuel source for 9 percent of the self generators. That’s expected to increase to 10 percent next year.
Onsite generation boosts a company’s electric supply reliability and is a public-relations plus, she said. “They can guarantee their supply and feel more comfortable about reliability if it’s their own onsite generation,” she said. “It gives them more control for energy management and can be incorporated it into a broader energy management strategy.”
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