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Powering ahead

How BEAMA is taking action to help shape the low carbon world

With May 2007?s Government Energy White Paper addressing the ramifications of climate change and increasing energy efficiency, urgent, ambitious action is required to accelerate the transition to a Iow carbon economy.

The British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers? Association (BEAMA) ? the association and service provider for the UK electrotechnical sector ? has been actively involved in addressing the related industry issues most likely to impact on its members, by ensuring its members? ?voice? is collectively heard and by being part of consultation processes, offering advice and guidance in helping shape the practicalities of the White Paper?s challenges and opportunities for UK industry.

The association?s manufacturing-led member firms operating in the energy sector have the expertise, innovative mind-set and product evolutions to provide the solutions for many of the government?s long-term energy policy/low carbon ambitions. At the forefront of innovation for over 100 years, BEAMA is the vanguard for the UK?s electrical industry. With its considerable influence on new technology, product development, industry issues/ standards, and EU/UK legislation, the organisation proactively advances technical know-how and policy-making innovation.

Founded on a wealth of diverse experience and expertise, BEAMA member groups are active in the energy, electrical installation, power, lighting and catering services sectors. The lead body for supporting electrical sector exporters, its numerous overseas exhibitions/missions promote their interests and technological advancements worldwide.

Major business benefits for British manufacturers have been achieved through its extensive relationships with the utilities sector, environmental lobby, government departments and the electrical industry supply chain. Members have especially valued the association?s positive influence on the Building Regulations, and on the complex, protracted Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive.

The Energy White Paper?s scope is broad, covering most sectors in which BEAMA operates. From low carbon milestones for electric heating, to Smart networks for decentralised generation, the White Paper?s proposals provide many opportunities for manufacturers to develop new products and services for the much sought-after Low Carbon Economy, as outlined below. With the Energy White Paper recognising production of ?heat from low-carbon electricity? as a significant option for the future of heating UK homes, for a BEAMA group like TEHVA (The Electric Heating and Ventilation Association), the outlook is generally positive.

At the forefront of innovation for over 100 years, BEAMA is the vanguard for the UK?s electrical industry

The government will be conducting ?further work into the policy options available to reduce the carbon impact of heat and its use in order to determine a strategy for heat?. With energy regulator Ofgem?s probable new role analysing the long-term energy outlook and addressing concerns about security of supply, this presents a further opportunity for BEAMA to communicate the need for initiatives such as low carbon milestones. Replacing the Energy Efficiency Commitment (EEC), a statutory consultation on a new Carbon Emission Reduction Target (CERT) for energy suppliers (period 2008) is another opportunity to highlight investment in microgeneration as an attractive option.

The association is focused on ensuring the government honours its commitment to pursuing electric heating as a prime option for heating UK homes rather than other options for reducing emissions from heating, for example, CHP and general energy efficiency. Communicating electric heating?s cost effectiveness over other sources, its energy efficiency, role (and use) of low carbon milestones for Ofgem, benefits of maximising micro-generation through CERT, is a crucial part of its strategy.


BEAMA manages product groups/associations encompassing controls, metering, energyrelated communications, electrical heating and ventilation, water controls and treatment products. Each group is a recognised sector expert. This ability has resulted in several government policies creating considerable benefits for members, consumers and also the environment.

Much work addresses future government policies relating to climate change, increased industry globalisation and consumer safety. If correctly implemented in appropriate sustainable ways, these will create even more opportunities for British manufacturers. To achieve these aims, BEAMA uses its influence and extensive contact network with the utilities and UK government (particularly regarding the Building Regulations), Ofgem and with the European Commission.

With emphasis on low carbon and energyefficiency, the future environment for BEAMA members will be increasingly dominated by innovation in product design, management and manufacturing processes. Developing innovative products is the best way to counter products from low cost markets, leading to significant benefits.

There are several sectors where innovations are now in the marketplace: Smart metering ? with government highlighting its benefits, smart metering is set to become the new energy efficiency measure, as manufacturers develop innovative designs and energy usage measurement, transmitting it to utility companies, and presenting energy use data to consumers.

Advanced heating controls ? standard for heating systems in most UK homes, but more advanced controls systems are evolving, allowing a better match between the heat required, often dictated by the householder and the operation of these modern boilers. With these new products, BEAMA members believe increased savings of around 10% can be achieved.

Smart housing products/services ? encompass Smart metering and advanced controls, but extend to other areas of the home. Low cost devices monitor an appliance?s electrical energy use, displaying this information to the utility?s customer. Smart security products also ensure homes are safe and secure, while care of the elderly/disabled can be significantly improved by Smart housing products, benefiting individuals ? and local health authority budgets.


BEAMA?s message is clear: ?electric heating is very much alive and well and playing a key role in the move to the low carbon economy?. The Energy White Paper provides the long-term framework for ensuring the UK meets the challenges of climate change and in securing affordable future energy supplies. To help individuals understand the link between their actions, carbon dioxide emissions and climate change, via the White Paper, the government has committed to householders having direct access to their energy use within their home, ie awareness of how much electricity and gas customers are using.

The next decade will see this being achieved (subject to trial results) by all domestic energy customers having Smart meters featuring real time information visual displays. This will allow communication between the meter, energy supplier and customer.

The Smart meter solution is a further field in which BEAMA, via metering/communications groups ESMA (European Smart Metering Alliance) and BEMCA, has considerable expertise. It has long been active in developing appropriate technologies and communicating their benefits.The intention is for real time displays to be provided with new meters fitted from 2008, including for every newbuild property. Between 2008-2010, real time displays will be available free of charge to any household requesting one.

BEAMA?s message is clear: ?electric heating is very much alive and well and playing a key role in the move to the low carbon economy?

The government expects suppliers to roll out Smart meters when cost effective to do so and will consult on the implementation of these proposals. Also, householders? bills will show historic energy consumption. It?s estimated these proposals on Smart meters/billing will deliver annual savings of up to 0.4 MtC by 2010, and 0.5 MtC by 2020.

The White Paper emphasises that Smart metering is key to the overall development of the energy market in the domestic and business arenas, particularly in allowing more sophisticated import and export tariffs to be introduced. BEAMA is working with government to amend its plans in allowing a sustainable roll-out of Smart metering equipment with customer displays.

Looking ahead

In today?s global 24/7 environment, dramatic fast moving changes are impacting. The future of UK manufacturing is being reshaped, as is energy policy and its role as a catalyst for product/service innovation and yielding influence worldwide. As the June 2007 G8 meeting indicated, finally governments globally are realising the implications and impact of carbon emissions on climate change, global warming, and the potentially harmful affects of human action on mankind?s future and our planet itself.

As the national grouping of 14 associations, representing 350 UK companies supplying the UK and world energy markets, BEAMA?s views and actions concerning the development of government energy policy in a low carbon driven world are vital for the industry?s future.


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beama and Installation

BEAMA is the UK trade body for manufacturers of electrical equipment and cable management products. It represents the interests of companies with a combined turnover of £900 million, 25% of which is exports. Its product groups wield considerable influence over international product standards, so members can develop new products knowing future changes to standards will not invalidate them. Anti-counterfeiting campaigns (especially in China) are increasingly recognised as the most effective route for member companies to reduce the business impact of counterfeit products.

Innovations in this sector include Smart housing activities focusing on:

  • Integration of household renewables into buildings of all types, a key requirement for future of low carbon technologies.
  • Installation safety needs continuous development of innovative wiring and power management products. BEAMA members are in discussions with suppliers of small-scale renewables to ensure customers always receive a safe, effective installation.
  • Distribution of power from renewables is also being addressed, including potential use of low voltage DC cabling.
  • Other innovations include products allowing energy savings via automatic switch-off of standbys on electrical appliances (only standby is on the distribution unit, but it can still be switched on remotely).


beama and Power

BEAMA?s Power sector group is involved with the plans to decarbonise power production, distribution and transmission. Several product developments can deliver the more efficient management of high-voltage loads. However, a growing concern is lack of skilled labour required for the realisation of the necessary investments by the energy utilities.

This issue may be even more significant should Smart networks become a reality in the UK. Smart networks enable intelligent management of power, particularly in local networks and locally, decentralised energy production. Such systems use similar technical approaches to Smart metering, but in local substations.

The use of communications around these network types, and the agreement of communications mediums and protocols, will be of considerable importance. Presently, BEAMA is creating a consortium to work with government in addressing the technical requirements for the introduction of renewables across local networks, commercial and domestic buildings.