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:: New Roland Berger Study on increasing efficiency in energy-intensive industries

+ 10.09.2011 + Investing EUR 23 Billion in efficiency technology will deliver savings of more than EUR 100 Billion.

´Rising energy prices represent a major challenge in the coming years, especially in energy-intensive industries. To reduce energy costs, efficiency must be improved – and that means investing in new technology and efficiency steps. Such investments not only reduce the cost of energy, they also stimulate growth and innovation. Such are key findings of the new study "Increasing efficiency in energy-intensive industries" released by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. The study looks at four selected industries – basic chemicals, paper and cardboard, metal production and the processing of non-metallic mineral products – and proposes strategies for the period to 2050.


Energy demand from energy-intensive industries will rise sharply in the coming years. The spread of energy-based production methods and increasing automation will lead to an increase in consumption. At the same time, energy prices will rise due to the decision to phase out nuclear power early (and thus reduce supply), higher costs for CO2 certificates and fuel, and the expansion of grids for renewable energies. "The price of energy will rise by approximately 70% over the next 20 years," says Ralph Büchele from strategy consulting firm Roland Berger. "To stay competitive, companies must improve their energy efficiency."


Improving energy efficiency through new technology

The experts at Roland Berger see enormous potential for improving energy efficiency, particularly in energy-intensive industries: "The development of new efficiency technologies by various providers and their implementation by users make a long-term reduction in energy consumption possible, and hence a significant reduction in energy costs," says Torsten Henzelmann, Partner at Roland Berger.


For example, energy efficiency in the paper industry could improve by around 30% by 2030 and by as much as 50% by 2050. Savings of around 40% on energy costs are possible in the metal-processing industry by 2050. This would require targeted investment in efficiency actions which, according to Ralph Büchele, would soon pay for themselves: "The four industries investigated in our study need to invest around EUR 23 billion in efficiency technology by 2050. But by so doing, they will save more than EUR 100 billion in energy costs."


The investments in question relate chiefly to the additional costs involved in using more efficient machines and optimizing production methods. Processing raw materials more efficiently in the paper industry, for instance, can lead to major energy savings. In the metal-processing industry, efficient casting machines and heating equipment also show good savings potential.


Investing in energy efficiency stimulates innovation and growth

Investing in energy efficiency doesn't just save money for energy consumers, however: it also has a positive and lasting impact on the suppliers of such technology. Greater energy efficiency in products will become a key differentiating factor for manufacturers in the coming years, as well as a critical barrier to entry for new players. This will lead in turn to increased investment in R&D by companies, and hence more jobs and revenue growth. "Energy efficiency is the engine behind job creation and an increasingly important image factor, too" says Büchele. "Germany is already leading the way here."

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