There are several issues relating to energy that are giving headaches to the management of organisations. The first issue is the steady increase in energy prices which we have seen over recent years. In the last blog we mentioned, energy costs have doubled over the past 10 years and this rate of energy growth is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. For instance, if the organisations energy bill stands at £10m, then over ten years they are faced with needing to make an extra £10m of sales profit just to stand still!
Equally concerning is that most organisations do not have accurate data on where their energy is being spent. If you want to manage energy you need to understand where it is being used. All too often, and painfully inadequately, they have only the bottom line of the energy supplier’s bill to rely on.
A further growing area of concern is the reported frailties of the power grid. As fossil fuel power stations have been taken off-line (in line with EU LCP Directive commitments) and with no satisfactory replacement in sight, the margin of spare supply capacity of the National Grid has narrowed down to just a few percentage points. This potentially less reliable power supply provision raises the spectre of more frequent power cuts and outages, where the quality and performance of the supply is less than expected. The prospect of the electricity supply being cut during business hours is enough to bring any business manager out in a cold sweat!
These concerns are raising the interest of organisations into new approaches which can manage the energy demand of their buildings and provide, if not self-sufficiency, greater protection against these potential outages. In some cases this has meant the purchase of local energy generation capability – perhaps through the use of diesel generators. To offset the costs of this protection, organisations have looked to subsidise the cost of these generation systems through participation in contractual demand-response schemes (operated by the National Grid). In these, in times of limited supply, the company, on receipt of a suitable signal, uses its local generation capability to supplement the grid, or limit its demand. The reward for this cooperation are payments from the National Grid.
Demand reduction schemes may entail switching off or curtailing the local demand when a power critical situation arises. A further approach is to ‘shift’ elements of the load to more beneficial times (for instance, to take advantage of more advantageous energy pricing). Another scheme is to limit the maximum power level drawn by the plant or building to some agreed level.
The Tantallon EnergyFusion™ energy management and control system provides a new breed of energy management tool which offers powerful and automatic software-controlled energy management which can play a key role in the solution to some of these issues:
EnergyFusion™ will help solve problems with Energy demand control and save you energy and money – read this page to see the Payback of EnergyFusion™.