London, UK. June 23, 2009. Demand for energy consulting in the UK is growing as oil prices head above $70 a barrel, commercial electricity prices continue to trend upwards and the Carbon Reduction Commitment requires firms to activate carbon management plans. To help energy, finance and procurement directors select the right energy consulting firm from the 500 operating in the UK, Verdantix assessed nine service lines offered by 17 of the leading providers including AEA, Enviros, ERM, Evolve Energy, Inenco, McKinnon & Clarke, Power Efficiency and WSP Group.
“Energy managers point to powerful drivers behind their demand for energy consulting services” said Verdantix Director and leader of the three month research project Rodolphe d’Arjuzon. “Volatile energy prices, climate change regulations, low carbon building regulations, cost savings and getting access to government subsidies for energy efficiency compel firms to seek external expertise. For example, ninety-three per cent of our energy manager focus group said they had an energy efficiency programme in place. Equipment upgrades, onsite renewables and cultural change top the list of priorities.”
To clarify the best sources of advice for energy and carbon challenges, Verdantix compared 17 leading energy consulting firms on 43 criteria using its proprietary Green Quadrant® methodology. The Verdantix Green Quadrant analysis finds that deep technical expertise is required to provide valuable energy advice so firms should shortlist firms for specialist expertise – not buy all services from one large provider. The Verdantix research highlights market leading consultancies for:
Energy efficiency programmes. ENVIRON and NIFES offer the most compelling energy efficiency programme advice due to their strong platforms in energy audit, metering, monitoring and carbon assessments. This service line requires integrated expertise in metering, systems management and engineering knowledge to deliver potential energy efficiency benefits based on a client’s individual circumstances. ICF International is a strong choice for energy efficiency strategy engagements.
Energy procurement and risk management. The volatility of energy prices over the last five years magnified the value add of procurement consultants. Buyers seeking to balance their purchase risks with the opportunity for savings should engage the likes of Inenco, McKinnon & Clarke and Power Efficiency. These firms offer expertise in market analytics, fixed and flexible procurement, tenders and e-auctions to secure lower prices from energy suppliers.
Design advice for enhanced energy efficiency. Two-thirds of the energy manager focus group highlighted design advice for buildings and processes as a key spending area in 2009 and 2010. Hurley Palmer Flatt leads the field for design advice due to its sophisticated design modelling capabilities and impressive client list. Energy consulting firms with no engineering expertise like BIU, Broadfern and Ecofys would not be able to deliver energy efficiency process and building design services.
On-site low carbon energy generation. At least 50 per cent of the buyers Verdantix spoke with have invested in or plan to spend on advice for on-site renewables and CHP power generation. The technical complexity of on-site power gen and the need to offer an holistic assessment of myriad on-site energy equipment suppliers means that larger energy consulting firms like AEA, Enviros, ERM and WSP Group provide market leading services.
Carbon management services. Driven by the Carbon Reduction Commitment, the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme and voluntary initiatives to cut carbon emissions, energy consultants launched carbon services that leverage energy audit, efficiency and environmental expertise. The integration of energy and sustainability issues means broader-based consultants like ENVIRON, Enviros and ERM lead their peers.
“Our ground-breaking research on the energy consulting market finds that six firms –
AEA, ENVIRON, Enviros, Inenco, McKinnon & Clarke and WSP Group – lead the market” said James Pinney, Verdantix analyst and co-author of the report. “When buyers need market leading expertise for services like procurement and risk management or supply contract management they should turn to specialists like Power Efficiency and Inenco. ERM is a smart choice for on-site renewable energy generation and carbon footprints.”
The carbon agenda and structurally higher energy costs will require consultants to broaden service offerings into sustainability advice. Verdantix believes the biggest source of innovation will be in new business models based on energy systems integration and outsourcing as exemplified by Evolve Energy.
The report, Verdantix Green Quadrant: Energy Consulting UK can be purchased online and is available to Verdantix clients at www.verdantix.com
Verdantix is an independent analyst firm that helps P&L owners and change leaders with unique commercial analysis of climate change, sustainability and energy issues. For more information please visit www.verdantix.com
David Metcalfe, Director
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