Home Barriers to the energy cooperation and solutions Social/Managerial perspective barriers
Missing knowledge of energy demands
Technical innovations are only possible if a company deals with the topic of energy and tries to figure out where and how energy optimisation could be made. The situation is different for smaller companies. The smaller a company is, the fewer resources can be provided for the topic of energy. In general lack of knowledge often derives from lack of time and interest, which is a problem of so called “hidden costs”.
Changes in working behaviour
In every company there are specific working routines, i.e. the organisation creates certain work routines or supports certain behaviour. Changes need to be adapted and the willingness of the employees to change their behaviour can be constrained because of a changed workflow and other reservations against the technology or measure.
Change of working environment and workflow
Even more difficult is the situation when the working environment itself shall be changed for the sake of the energy cooperation. Consequently, there is the fear of losing the focus on the core business or to tarnish common working habits or workplace safety. The latter one could play a bigger role if companies with different safety guidelines cooperate.
Lack of time and staff to deal with energy efficiency
Since in many companies the knowledge about possible positive (side) effects of energy cooperation is limited, it is a time intensive task to initiate changes. In most companies, especially in SMEs but also in larger companies, there is lack of time and (personnel) resources to work on topics, which are not directly connected to the core business.
Generally, the responsibilities for energy topics may not be clearly defined within companies or industrial parks.
Unknown effect on the surrounding area
There also can be uncertainties about possible effects on the local environment and neighbourhood such as the local population.
The local population and community partially supply the companies with employees, so possible effects can alter the behaviour of workers.
Possible effects could be: New industries occupying formerly green fields because of planned cooperation, changed public transport due to matched working times of multiple companies, shifted working times due to combined load profiles of cooperating companies etc. Such changes can be perceived positive or negative.
On the other hand, because energy efficiency measures usually have a direct or indirect positive effect on the environment, the consequences for the local environment and population are assumed to be positive most of the time.
Communication and good relationships
To enable a successful collaboration, trust and good communication between the companies are an unalterable prerequisite.
If companies have shown no interest in each other before, it is more difficult, since there is then only be a vague idea (if any) how the companies could cooperate in energy topics. Even more important, representatives need to build up good relationships and find opportunities for communication. The situation exacerbates if they are (possible) direct market competitors.
Fear of far-reaching dependences
An essential threat for energy cooperation is that one or more participating enterprises modify their process or shut down the site due to relocation or bankruptcy.In this case, dependent on the kind of cooperation, the local energy system can be threatened. Especially when the cooperation is created around an “anchor firm”, the closure of this firm is disastrous to other participating companies.
Split incentives of lessors and tenants
Changing the working environment technically can also be hampered when rented buildings and structures come into play. High investments in rented property are much less attractive than in private property.
Also, the lessor can be spurning to physical changes of his or her property. The barrier affects many companies, since it is very common to rent commercial premises.
Coordination by an external institution
An external coordinating and mediating institution without economic interests can be helpful.
A question which arises from a lack of trust or missing collaboration history is who the eventually newly built plants for joint energy production runs. Here, a third party can contribute as operator or to mediate in negotiations.
Distributed responsibilities and decisional power
Another aspect are split incentives of different departments of a company or further different actors involved. Depending on their responsibilities, they all focus on different aspects. The problem arises, when in a company distinct management levels and departments are responsible for reporting and implementation of measures. This creates the situation of information losses and split incentives inside one company, hampering constructive cooperation processes with others.
This problem intensifies when subcontractors or affiliated firms of multinational companies shall be included into energy cooperation. The local executives of these firms may are not in the position to decide such far-reaching decisions such as symbiotic relations in energy matters with other companies on their own.
Are you interested and do you want to know which possibilities your park has for energy cooperation?