Member Profile – BEAMA

28 May 2020 #Uncategorised

Tell us a bit about your business? When were you founded, where are you based and how many people do you employ?

BEAMA was established in 1902 as the National Electrical Manufacturers’ Association and changed its name to the British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers’ Association (now just BEAMA) in 1911.

Our first director was also the Chairman of the first World Power Conference (now the World Energy Council) in 1924, so although we represent companies active in British markets, we have always had an international focus.

We have an archive of historical BEAMA guides and documents dating back to 1902 that show our longstanding links with the transport industry, including work with London authorities in the 1930s on how to electrify elements of the London Underground to accommodate escalator access.

These engineering guides are an insight into the transformation the transport industry went through during the 1930s, as a number of key new tube stations opened. Our recent work continues this story with the guides and activities we are taking forward with organisations such as the SMMT on the electrification of transport.

We are based near St Katharine Docks in Rotherwick House, a hub of trade associations in the electrical sector that includes representative bodies for contractors and distributors in our industry.

What does the business do?

BEAMA is the UK trade association for manufacturers and providers of energy infrastructure technologies and systems. We represent more than 200 companies, from start-ups and SMEs to large multinationals.

Our members provide generation, transmission and distribution equipment, heating and ventilation products, EV infrastructure, electrical systems, and flexibility assets in networks and the built environment. We promote regulation, markets and products that support a safe, smart and secure low-carbon energy system.

We work with key government departments on industrial strategy, energy policy, decarbonisation, heat and transport, building regulations, trade and inward investment.

Our relationships with the IET and BSI in the UK, CEN/CENELEC in Europe and the IEC make BEAMA a leading UK industry association for the development of electrical product standards, and we are rated the Number 1 contributor in the UK to BSI standards.

How is business? What’s the outlook for the year ahead?

These are uncertain times but we are fortunate to have an engaged, loyal and active membership of companies that understand that the decisions we make in the coming year, both individually and collectively as a sector, as a country and also as an international community, will define us for a long time to come.

Recent government and industry announcements about the importance of charging and network infrastructure to the transition to EVs show how important this year will be for the electrification and decarbonisation of road transport, and we are assisting industry to define the architecture of smart EV charging.

We have also just published a description of ‘best practice’ to futureproof EV infrastructure. We remain closely involved in the work to deliver the recommendations of the EV Energy Taskforce.

At BEAMA we are also very focused on the way we heat and power our buildings. Last autumn we published a report Net Zero by Design, which set out our commitment and that of many of our members to deliver carbon neutrality by 2050. The success of this effort depends on stable and effective regulation giving the appropriate investment signals to the market.

We continue to work with our members and many partner organizations, including the SMMT, to facilitate a just and effective recovery from the current health crisis in a way that supports the transition to a zero-carbon economy. In the meantime, we have found ourselves very busy advising our members and the sector at large on how to respond to the crisis to keep our workforce and customers safe, interpret government guidance, and keep supply chains open.

The other issue that we expect to keep us very busy in the coming year is Brexit. As the UK Government loses influence in the European Union, it will be up to trade associations  to represent British companies at European level, to help our members understand and influence the many standards and regulations in this important market. We also maintain active engagement on the current trade negotiations with the EU, the US and Japan.

What are the big issues or technological advances that fill you with positivity?

New developments in how we can use energy data in near real time to make buildings, systems and networks more efficient make this sector the most exciting place to work at the moment.

It is terrific that so much of the current innovation in devices and services focused on making the world safer, cleaner and greener is designed to engage consumers to deliver these better outcomes. Only a few years ago, a lot of people thought of decarbonisation as a trade-off: we would have to give up having ‘nice things’ in order to save the planet. Now we are seeing that the path to Net Zero has to involve the consumer in a fundamental way, and that the safety, reliability and affordability of a low-carbon system all reinforce each other. That’s a huge change to witness in such a short time.

Jeremy Yapp, Head of Flexible Energy Systems, BEAMA


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