Navetas Energy Management share their energy perspectives
Nick Wellington of Navetas Energy Management talks to Bdaily
What is the general situation with the energy market currently?
It is rare for energy issues to have been so high up the political and national agenda as it is now. Energy reduction is a major priority for businesses due to significant energy price rises driving up overheads. Also in the face of high global carbon emissions, the Government is striving to cut the UKs carbon footprint dramatically for a more sustainable future.
What are the Governments plans for energy efficiency?
The Government has set a target to reduce energy the UKs carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. To support this ambitious objective, it launched the Carbon Plan in March 2011 a five year plan of action on climate change, including domestic and international activity. The Government has also come up with the Green Deal initiative, which is intended to revolutionise the energy efficiency of British properties.
What do the Green Deal and Carbon Plan mean for businesses?
As part of these initiatives, the Government has established a framework to enable energy providers to offer energy consumers including businesses the means to make energy improvements to their properties. Providing assistance to businesses with carbon reduction efforts is also a priority, through support for investment in energy and carbon saving. The Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Efficiency Scheme has also been launched to incentivise businesses to reduce their energy consumption.
What do I need to know about the CRC?
If your business uses over 6,000 MWh per year then its mandatory for you to participate in the Governments CRC scheme, set up to drive energy efficiency in large public and private organisations. Over 2,000 organisations are involved, including major supermarkets, retailers, restaurant chains, hospitals and government departments. The scheme aims to encourage organisations to develop effective energy management strategies.
What else is the Government doing to encourage businesses to become more energy efficient?
Among some of the other schemes outlined in the Carbon Plan, there are Voluntary Business Energy Efficiency Agreements with energy suppliers, to provide advice, audits and services to businesses. Energy performance certificates and display energy certificates are also available, providing businesses with information on the energy performance of their buildings. The Government has also cited the smart meter rollout as a key driver for energy efficiency.
What is the smart meter roll out?
The Government has mandated that 53m smart meters will be installed in homes and businesses across the UK by 2019. The smart meters will use two-way communications networks and integrated intelligence to enable increased visibility and management of electricity usage.
Will these Government initiatives benefit my business?
According to the Governments Carbon Plan, having the right information will be key to successfully driving energy efficiency. The initiatives are designed to help businesses better understand their energy consumption so they can make informed decisions to change their energy usage. However, many of these fall short in providing businesses with the in-depth level of data they need on how, when and why they are using energy in the first place. Without this insight, many energy efficiency strategies could be focusing on the wrong priorities.
What more should Government and energy providers be doing to help businesses?
Energy certificates, smart meter displays and energy audits all sound like valid approaches to better understanding a businesss energy usage. But these dont provide the in-depth information on energy consumption habits that businesses need to make changes that will really make a difference to their carbon footprint.
In the case of smart meters, these devices promise accurate billing, but organisations will continue to receive an overall energy consumption figure on their bill. The usage needs to be broken down at an appliance level, using technology such as that developed by Navetas so businesses can identify the energy-hungry parts of their organisation.
How can insights into energy consumption be achieved?
The smart meter rollout provides an excellent opportunity for the Government and energy providers to deliver detailed energy usage to businesses. However, the current smart meters offer limited functionality, providing only an overall consumption figure.
Smart meters need to be transformed from simple displays, to intelligent energy measurement and management systems, allowing businesses to accurately track the energy consumption of every part of their organisation. With detailed usage data and informative displays, businesses will be empowered to make long-term behavioural changes that reduce energy and overheads.
How can I receive more help in becoming energy efficient?
It is worth exploring the schemes that are available to businesses to help with investment in energy efficiency strategies. For example, the Green Equipment fund is a partnership between the Government, Siemens and the Carbon Trust, offering up to 550 million in financing for UK businesses investing in green equipment. The only amount firms will have to pay back is the amount they are saving from lower energy usage, or perhaps even less.