Is business demand for electricity rising?

The issue of rising electricity prices has never been too far from the headlines over recent years, but have they increased as a direct result of rising demand? As Australia continues to attract more business activity and gains a standing on the international trade scene, it would perhaps logically follow that the need for electricity has increased.

However, there's plenty of evidence to the contrary. The Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that between 2010 and 2014, electricity usage had declined 4 per cent. Even in light of this, the value of the electricity used marked a rise of 43 per cent over the same period.

How are businesses combating rising energy costs?How are businesses combating rising energy costs?

There appear to be various factors at play when it comes to the national electricity market. What are these trends and how have they impacted demand for power among the country's companies?

Energy efficiency awareness

The Power Down Australia Institute Paper 14 recently took a closer look at changes in electricity demand across the National Electricity Market between 2006 and 2013. It revealed that the quantity of electricity consumed on an annual basis has declined year on year, with one of the reasons for this being an increasing awareness of energy efficiency issues.

As a result, businesses are making behavioural changes in their premises to encourage staff to be more aware of electricity usage. They are also implementing alternative technology to help minimise the impact of increases in electricity prices.

Renewable energy sources

The 2015 National Electricity Forecasting Report from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) revealed that companies are showing a growing preference for renewable energy generation. Solar PV is apparently one of the most popular choices.

Companies' reliance on solar power will largely depend on where in the country they are situated. AEMO Managing Director and CEO Mr Matt Zema revealed that the results have been pretty impressive in South Australia. The state has used solar PV to offset demand from the grid at key times of the day.

Businesses are making behavioural changes in their premises to encourage staff to be more aware of electricity usage.

"This was the lowest grid demand experienced in South Australia in the past 10 years, and resulted in rooftop PV contributing one-third of total demand for this particular time of the day," noted Mr Zema.

Greater financial awareness

The Australia Institute report showed that business demand for electricity was increasing slightly until 2010 and since then, it has been in gradual decline. A link was found between the need for electricity and total economic activity in Australia's states and territories.

Analysts revealed that general business accounts for as much as two-thirds of total business electricity consumption, so it makes sense for owners to take a closer look at their bottom line.