Utilities companies world-wide expect wind and nuclear power to provide an increasing share of their market’s energy consumption in the next five years. Last year, only 17 percent and 19 percent were looking toward these two fuel sources. By 2007, in the space of just 12 months, they were being mentioned by 48 percent and 45 percent of respondents. Climate change, according to the ninth annual PricewaterhouseCoopers report Energy and Efficiency: Utilities Global Survey 2007 (PDF), appears to have cemented its place in utility company strategies.
The survey shows an industry that believes that technological advances can take the world into a new era of energy efficiency. Expectations that technology can have an impact on energy efficiency have again shot up over the last 12 months -? from 22 percent to 81 percent among American respondents, from 33 percent to 43 percent in Europe and from 41 percent to 62 percent world-wide.
Utility companies believe that the greatest energy efficiency gains could come from end-users, of all kinds -? industrial, commercial and, especially, residential customers. Although utility companies feel that governments and end-users must set a lead on energy efficiency, companies are ready to invest significantly in efficiency, not just in their own production and transmission but also to help their customers become more energy efficient. Indeed, 72 percent of respondents from companies with supply businesses are making some investment in demand-side efficiency measures.