BDC

Search
BDC Magazine

Energy

Pushing Efficiencies to Reduce Costs

For the public sector, budgets have been ever-tightening, which is, as one would expect, a worrying trend for those providers of integral services such as education. Yet, whilst the picture does indeed look bleak from a funding perspective, there is always a way in which organisations can look to maintain

Read More »

Industrial Energy Use – Are Your Doors & Shutters The Key?

We’ll start this post with a positive – across the whole, UK energy consumption in industry (and as a whole, including domestic use) is falling year on year. The latest report from the Department of Energy & Climate Change (which you can read in full here) paints a broadly positive

Read More »

Industrial Energy Use – Are Your Doors & Shutters The Key?

We’ll start this post with a positive – across the whole, UK energy consumption in industry (and as a whole, including domestic use) is falling year on year. The latest report from the Department of Energy & Climate Change (which you can read in full here) paints a broadly positive

Read More »

NIC Needs To Be Strong On Energy and Water Development

Tough decisions will have to be made with purpose and clarity by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to deliver major energy and water projects says the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). The newly created NIC has been given the foundations by which it can deliver relevant infrastructure improvements thanks to

Read More »

Energy Users Call for End to Carbon Price Floor

The Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG) has called for the Carbon Price Floor to be scrapped or frozen beyond 2020 on the basis that it puts the UK at a disadvantage compared to the rest of Europe. The EIUG argues that rather than reducing carbon emissions overall, the carbon tax

Read More »

Northern Gas Networks Trials Liquid Natural Gas Powered Vans

Serving as the first natural stage in its NIC CNG Connection project, Northern Gas Networks is now experimenting with liquid natural gas powered vans to judge the potential benefits available. Set to build its very own compressed gas fuel stations for its back-to-depot city-based vehicles, Northern Gas Networks is taking

Read More »

LED Lighting Installed at Farmfoods’ Avonmouth Centre

As part of a project both designed and then provided by Minimise Energy, a leading provider of innovative energy-efficiency technologies, Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lights have now been fitted across Farmfoods’ new distribution centre at Avonmouth. Tailored to the needs of Farmfoods, where temperatures may drop to as low as -22°C

Read More »

Western Power Distribution Launches New Customer App

Increasingly, with the advancements made in consumer (and corporate) technology, apps are being launched to assist customers in both monitoring, and managing their relative services. This is most noticeably the case in areas concerning energy and utilities and, most specifically, Western Power Distribution has taken the decision to launch a

Read More »

Plant Closures Spell the End for UK Power Generation

Law firm, Bircham Dyson Bell has reported that the UK faces what it describes as a “looming energy crunch” owing to the predicted loss of 25GW of generating capacity by 2030. The report highlighted the closure of 18 major power stations since 2012, representing a reduction of the UK’s total

Read More »

Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

Energy

Pushing Efficiencies to Reduce Costs

For the public sector, budgets have been ever-tightening, which is, as one would expect, a worrying trend for those providers of integral services such as education. Yet, whilst the picture does indeed look bleak from a funding perspective, there is always a way in which organisations can look to maintain the level of service they are able to deliver in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. On-site Power Generation Through systems such as Combined Heat and Power (CHP), organisations, especially those with large, spanning estates, can look to reduce their energy costs considerably through the incorporation of power generation techniques on-site. But this isn’t limited solely to CHP, as, with the increased popularity and recognition of renewable generation surges, additional options are also available, most notably solar PV. And while pursuing this course of action would indeed trump up an initial cost, when looking at the traditional energy usage of say, a university campus, the savings per year through pursuing such power generation techniques is substantial. While today, such schemes won’t bring about any relief from budgetary cuts, tomorrow perhaps, they just might. Energy Reduction Techniques When looking at methods to reduce energy consumption, suffice to say that the best method to pursue depends most aptly on the primary activities and energy use of any given organisation. That said, there are still a few simple, tried-and-tested ways to reduce energy use for most organisational archetypes. One such method is through the usage of motion-sensor LED lights. Though lighting might initially be considered quite a small cost on a day-to-day basis, organisations have increasingly found that, with expanding estates, the costs associated with keeping premises properly lit to be quite costly in the long-term. Through the usage of motion sensing LED lights, organisations can not only improve the efficiency of their lighting solutions while in use, but can also improve larger-scale efficiencies within rooms not in use all day, every day. Procurement Channels While, for the public sector, there are always frameworks abound for organisations to tap into as a source of supply chain developments, this often isn’t the only choice available. Specifically for universities, buying consortiums and groups such as TUCO, ESPO, LUPC and more, offer a range of contractor archetypes, each procured from a value-for-money perspective. This means that, while services may be procured at a more manageable value with budgeting in mind, the level of quality and service remains unquestioned. Arguably, these groups offer an unquestionably essential service for those looking to find best-value within the supply chain. Regardless of method, however, the importance of refining day-to-day organisational efficiencies and costs is paramount. With an increasing number of organisations also offering services for companies to pursue power generation and energy use efficiency techniques, there’s also no excuse not to.

Read More »

Industrial Energy Use – Are Your Doors & Shutters The Key?

We’ll start this post with a positive – across the whole, UK energy consumption in industry (and as a whole, including domestic use) is falling year on year. The latest report from the Department of Energy & Climate Change (which you can read in full here) paints a broadly positive picture for overall industrial energy efficiency. We’re much less reliant on solid fuels, and bioenergy use has grown hugely over the past 10-15 years. On the flipside, though, things don’t necessarily look quite so good elsewhere – particularly electricity and gas. While gas use has fallen it’s still comparatively high, and electricity reliance is equally high but has seen a reduction since the mid-90s. (Source: Department of Energy & Climate Change – Data Tables) However, when we looking even wider at the last 45 years, electricity consumption has actually gone up; consumption has gone from 2.8m tonnes in 1970 to 5.9m tonnes at the end of 2014. With the exception of bioenergy and waste, it’s the only fuel type whose demand / consumption within the industrial sector that’s increased. While the ways in which this electricity is being generated has been improving (e.g. solar, hydroelectric), it’s also important to try and reduce overall consumption – so that, as a sector, we can pick up the downward trend in demand we had seen until the increases from 2010 onwards. How Can We Reduce The Consumption? Renewable forms of energy do mean that there is, from an ecological perspective, ‘good’ and ‘bad’ types of electricity usage; if a site has moved from grid electricity to self-sufficiency through solar or water, but consumption stays the same, then this has a positive impact on the environment. However, quite often (particularly at larger industrial scales) renewable solutions aren’t enough to provide a consistent or reliable impact; there will still need to be a reliance on fossil fuels, even if it’s just as a ‘backup’. So how can we, as businesses within the industrial sector, make an even more positive impact on both the environment and (from a commercial point of view) operating costs? It’s all in energy efficiency; changing where your electricity comes from is one step, but improving how much you use is a new level. Industrial Doors – How Big Can The Impact Be? There are some large-scale changes that can be made in the industrial sector to improve efficiency, such as updating equipment to more efficient machinery. However, as with domestic properties, energy lost through poor insulation can be a huge contributing factor – and improving this area can have a big impact. Industry specialists Attenborough Industrial Doors are one of a number of UK-based manufacturers and suppliers putting a huge emphasis on energy efficiency over the last ten years. This is efficiency in both the power used to operate industrial doors themselves, as well as the financial savings that can be made as a result. The impact that efficiency, modern industrial doors can have are typically two-fold. Firstly, you have the added insulation benefits; when closed, energy consumption will be less when it comes to heating or cooling buildings internally. Regardless of how this electricity or energy is generated (even if it’s 100% renewable) then the reduction in energy required allows for more efficient running, and reduces the risk of needing to fall back on non-renewable backups. The second benefit is similar, but is related to effectiveness and speed of operation. Faster and automatic industrial doors and roller shutters ensure that doors can’t be left open, and are only open for as long as necessary. This is particularly important when it comes to sectors such as medical or food production/distribution where temperature control is absolutely essential. To conclude, how successful are we as an industry in reducing energy consumption and improving the adoption of renewable resources? On the one hand, the use of bioenergy is up significantly – which is a huge achievement. Conversely, though, the overall consumption of electricity has remained high and needs consistent efforts for efficiency to ensure the trend of lower usage is picked up again – making for not just a financially beneficial end-result but also a positive impact on the environment.

Read More »

Industrial Energy Use – Are Your Doors & Shutters The Key?

We’ll start this post with a positive – across the whole, UK energy consumption in industry (and as a whole, including domestic use) is falling year on year. The latest report from the Department of Energy & Climate Change (which you can read in full here) paints a broadly positive picture for overall industrial energy efficiency. We’re much less reliant on solid fuels, and bioenergy use has grown hugely over the past 10-15 years. On the flipside, though, things don’t necessarily look quite so good elsewhere – particularly electricity and gas. While gas use has fallen it’s still comparatively high, and electricity reliance is equally high but has seen a reduction since the mid-90s. (Source: Department of Energy & Climate Change – Data Tables) However, when we looking even wider at the last 45 years, electricity consumption has actually gone up; consumption has gone from 2.8m tonnes in 1970 to 5.9m tonnes at the end of 2014. With the exception of bioenergy and waste, it’s the only fuel type whose demand / consumption within the industrial sector that’s increased. While the ways in which this electricity is being generated has been improving (e.g. solar, hydroelectric), it’s also important to try and reduce overall consumption – so that, as a sector, we can pick up the downward trend in demand we had seen until the increases from 2010 onwards. How Can We Reduce The Consumption? Renewable forms of energy do mean that there is, from an ecological perspective, ‘good’ and ‘bad’ types of electricity usage; if a site has moved from grid electricity to self-sufficiency through solar or water, but consumption stays the same, then this has a positive impact on the environment. However, quite often (particularly at larger industrial scales) renewable solutions aren’t enough to provide a consistent or reliable impact; there will still need to be a reliance on fossil fuels, even if it’s just as a ‘backup’. So how can we, as businesses within the industrial sector, make an even more positive impact on both the environment and (from a commercial point of view) operating costs? It’s all in energy efficiency; changing where your electricity comes from is one step, but improving how much you use is a new level. Industrial Doors – How Big Can The Impact Be? There are some large-scale changes that can be made in the industrial sector to improve efficiency, such as updating equipment to more efficient machinery. However, as with domestic properties, energy lost through poor insulation can be a huge contributing factor – and improving this area can have a big impact. Industry specialists Attenborough Industrial Doors are one of a number of UK-based manufacturers and suppliers putting a huge emphasis on energy efficiency over the last ten years. This is efficiency in both the power used to operate industrial doors themselves, as well as the financial savings that can be made as a result. The impact that efficiency, modern industrial doors can have are typically two-fold. Firstly, you have the added insulation benefits; when closed, energy consumption will be less when it comes to heating or cooling buildings internally. Regardless of how this electricity or energy is generated (even if it’s 100% renewable) then the reduction in energy required allows for more efficient running, and reduces the risk of needing to fall back on non-renewable backups. The second benefit is similar, but is related to effectiveness and speed of operation. Faster and automatic industrial doors and roller shutters ensure that doors can’t be left open, and are only open for as long as necessary. This is particularly important when it comes to sectors such as medical or food production/distribution where temperature control is absolutely essential. To conclude, how successful are we as an industry in reducing energy consumption and improving the adoption of renewable resources? On the one hand, the use of bioenergy is up significantly – which is a huge achievement. Conversely, though, the overall consumption of electricity has remained high and needs consistent efforts for efficiency to ensure the trend of lower usage is picked up again – making for not just a financially beneficial end-result but also a positive impact on the environment.

Read More »

NIC Needs To Be Strong On Energy and Water Development

Tough decisions will have to be made with purpose and clarity by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to deliver major energy and water projects says the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). The newly created NIC has been given the foundations by which it can deliver relevant infrastructure improvements thanks to the CBI revealing eight areas it says should be prioritised. This includes water and flood defences, low-carbon energy, and energy generation and supply. Rhian Kelly, the CBI’s business environment director says the NIC must be an enabler, helping to deliver projects across the UK that promote industry growth, create jobs and get the economy flowing. To accomplish this, the NIC should not be hindered by politics or red tape and must be given the weight to push through infrastructure decisions that can make significant gains. Areas worth targeting, concludes the report, involves such initiatives as the extraction and storage of energy from a wider range of sources and improving the opportunities that will come from a “circular economy”. That means developing existing technologies and embracing new ones such as carbon capture and storage, tidal power and hydrogen. Supply of water needs to be flexible, making use of variable volumes thanks to climate change and weather patterns impacting differently across the UK. This must be factored into housing and infrastructure planning over the long term. In terms of promoting a low-carbon economy, the CBI suggests the commission should look at boosting energy infrastructure and generation to promote electrification within heating and transport. This level of focus must also be on flood defences with up to 2.1m people projected to be at risk within 35 years. Flood defences must be more resilience while upstream water capture should be considered. Through these initiatives the NIC can potentially prove to be a major success. Time will tell.  

Read More »

Energy Users Call for End to Carbon Price Floor

The Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG) has called for the Carbon Price Floor to be scrapped or frozen beyond 2020 on the basis that it puts the UK at a disadvantage compared to the rest of Europe. The EIUG argues that rather than reducing carbon emissions overall, the carbon tax encourages production to be relocated away from the UK so that the emissions occur elsewhere, known as carbon leakage. Director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, Jeremy Nicholson, said “This measure doesn’t reduce emissions. It just means that more of the emissions reductions occur in the UK and less elsewhere in Europe.” The Carbon Price Floor, introduced in 2013, was designed to provide a top-up to the price of EU Allowances (EUAs), which trade under the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). The EU ETS is a cap and trade scheme that places a cap on emissions emitted from factories and power plants across the EU, which reduces over time. EUAs, which equate to one tonne of CO2, are issued to the level of the annual cap, and while some are issued freely to participants, others are auctioned. Participants must submit allowances equal to their emissions levels each year, and if more allowances are required, these can be purchased from participants with surplus allowances, or at auction. A higher carbon price makes low carbon technologies more viable as there is a value to the emissions saved. However, the design of the EU ETS has resulted in an excess of EUAs in the market, particularly during periods of reduced economic output. As a result, the price of EUAs has fallen, as can be seen in the chart below. A mechanism known as the Market Stability Reserve (MSR) will be introduced from 2019 as a measure to prevent the oversupply of allowances. This will be structured to automatically withdraw emission allowances from the market when oversupply exceeds a pre-defined limit and to release allowances when the surplus falls below a set amount. In the UK, the Carbon Price Floor was introduced in 2013 to act as a top up to EUA prices and so encourage carbon abatement while the price of EUAs was too low to do so. It is structured as follows: Carbon Price Floor = EUAs + Carbon Price Support (UK only additional tax for fossil fuels used in electricity generation) Carbon Price Support (CPS) rates are applied to fossil fuels used in electricity generation as a tax, which feeds through to consumers via the wholesale price of electricity. The CPS rates are scaled according to the carbon intensity of the fossil fuel used to generate. The intention was for the Carbon Price Floor to rise to £30 by 2020. However, it was not anticipated that EUA prices would fall as low as they have. As can be seen in the chart, prices have fallen from €16/tCO2 in mid-2011, when the scheme was announced, to just below €6.00/tCO2 this year. In 2014, it became apparent that if the floor price were to continue on its planned trajectory, that the UK would be faced with far greater carbon costs than the rest of Europe. Therefore, the rates were reformed in the 2014 budget and a cap was set at £18/tCO2 for 2016/17 to 2019/20, effectively freezing 2015/16 levels. CPS was not mentioned in the recent business energy efficiency tax review, and calls have been made for a decision to be made on its future in the upcoming 2016 budget, although low carbon generators and environmental groups support the tax. A Treasury spokesman has said that no decision has yet been made and that an announcement on rates beyond 2019/20 will be made in due course. By Nikki Wilson for Alfa Energy & BDC Magazine

Read More »

Northern Gas Networks Trials Liquid Natural Gas Powered Vans

Serving as the first natural stage in its NIC CNG Connection project, Northern Gas Networks is now experimenting with liquid natural gas powered vans to judge the potential benefits available. Set to build its very own compressed gas fuel stations for its back-to-depot city-based vehicles, Northern Gas Networks is taking the first logical step in the company’s overarching plans to cut its carbon emissions across the board. Testing the initiative through the vehicles, Northern Gas Networks will be monitoring the performance and benefits of the vans, engaging them in a number of different scenarios so as best to judge their potential. The project itself, valued at approximately £1.1m, is being undertaken as a partnership between Northern Gas Networks and Leeds City Council, with Ofgem funding a large proportion (approximately £700,000) of the project, and Northern Gas Networks personally covering the addition costs; effectively, putting its money where its mouth is. Whilst the organisation is already well respected for pushing efficiencies and operating responsibly, Northern Gas Networks has stated that it wishes to play an integral role in experimenting with new and innovative schemes which may form a part of a far more sustainable economy. It is hoped that similar initiatives may be pursued in utilising more sustainable gases for a wide variety of energy applications where testing the gases for use in vehicles is merely the first step – the end goal may even each the goal of powering homes, cities and more. Only time will tell, of course.

Read More »

LED Lighting Installed at Farmfoods’ Avonmouth Centre

As part of a project both designed and then provided by Minimise Energy, a leading provider of innovative energy-efficiency technologies, Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lights have now been fitted across Farmfoods’ new distribution centre at Avonmouth. Tailored to the needs of Farmfoods, where temperatures may drop to as low as -22°C where frozen-food is stored, the completed project is able to effectively withstand these low temperatures as well as responded to changing levels of natural light across other areas of the centre, such as office spaces, and provide great benefits for Farmfoods as a result. As a leading partner for organisations looking to reduce their on-going energy reduction goals, as well as enhancing the bottom line also, Minimise Energy works across a wide range of energy saving, monitoring and reporting products, most notably including LED lighting. Additionally, the organisation also offers specialist lighting and optimisation for electric motors, gas and electric boilers, and also for air conditioning systems. The centre now has multiple roof lights which are able to cover approximately 15% out of the ambient area of the root, admitting forms of natural light which have also been factored into the lighting design as a whole. Additionally, sensors have been added to the ambient parts of the centre so that these lights can then respond to whether or not there are individuals actively in the building at a given time, and adjust the available lighting accordingly – a major contributor to the energy efficiency of the building. Providing some commentary on the exciting project, Farmfoods’ Property Development Manager, William Scanlon explained the importance of balancing the maintenance of its frozen-food, in the perfect conditions, alongside that of promoting energy efficiency to be of the utmost import. He also added that the designing of the perfect LEDs as well as property lighting control is one of the key ways in which Farmfoods will be aiming to achieve its efficiency goals.

Read More »

Western Power Distribution Launches New Customer App

Increasingly, with the advancements made in consumer (and corporate) technology, apps are being launched to assist customers in both monitoring, and managing their relative services. This is most noticeably the case in areas concerning energy and utilities and, most specifically, Western Power Distribution has taken the decision to launch a brand new app for its customers, allowing them to report power cuts directly on their devices as well as enabling them to receive the latest information on faults and issues. As of this moment, Western Power Distribution is now the only DNO with an app of this type, allowing customers increased communication with the company, and visa versa. As a company dedicated to providing the highest standard of service possible, the app is a clear move in the right direction for improving the customer experience and the level of information and support at their fingertips. Although the app won’t quite revolutionise the service Western Power Distribution offers, it does support a responsible approach to the delivery of its service by allowing the customer to keep in the know, on the move. As the app also provides the company’s customers with a live stream of communication directly to Western Power Distribution’s helpdesk, which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, this will also allow for the easy pinpointing of fault locations and communication of advice direct to the customer. Additionally, past and present reports area also archive-able for reference at a later date. And finally, the app also allows for owners of multiple properties to monitor multiple locations simultaneously through the storage of multiple postcodes. Then commenting on the launch of the app, the Corporate Communication Manager for Western Power Distribution said: “We hope [customers] will find our new mobile app a useful addition to the range of resources that are currently available.”

Read More »

Plant Closures Spell the End for UK Power Generation

Law firm, Bircham Dyson Bell has reported that the UK faces what it describes as a “looming energy crunch” owing to the predicted loss of 25GW of generating capacity by 2030. The report highlighted the closure of 18 major power stations since 2012, representing a reduction of the UK’s total capacity by 14GW to little over 86GW. It also claimed the UK was on course to lose a futher 7GW by 2020 and  another 18GW by 2030 if expected closures go ahead. Coal-fired plants at Longannet, Ferrybridge and Rugeley are all due to close this year. Eggborough meanwhile has been temporarily saved from closure after it was contracted into the Supplemental Balancing Reserve (SBR) for the winter of 2016/17. Its future after next year, however, remains uncertain. SBR has also contracted one of the four units at Fiddler’s Ferry although the three remaining units are due to come offline in a few short months. “We have observed increasing concern in recent years that as old electricity generation comes offline, new power generators are not being built at a rate that is keeping pace,” Angus Walker, Head of Government and Infrastructure at Bircham Dyson Bell commented. “Our research establishes the hard facts of how serious the situation is, finding that on current projections this is likely to result in a shortfall between supply and demand – in summary an energy crunch.” Despite documenting the promise of 18 new project which have been granted consent, the law firm’s image of the sector is somewhat bleak. It suggests that, with the upcoming plants having a combined generating capacity of less than 18GW, they will leave National Grid with a deficit of 19GW compared with 2012. Contributors to the the report were quick to point out inconsistent governmental policies as a major cause of the predicted “energy crunch”. Lawrence Slade, Chief Executive of Energy UK insisted the sector was facing real uncertainty and a lack of investment as a result. He claimed: “The cuts made, particularly to renewables, have been drastic and sudden. We need policy certainty and cross-party agreement.” It was just days ago that Energy UK recommended that the government review the Levy Control Framework (LCF) in order to provide clarify to companies and investors, a moved it hoped would inspire new confidence in energy generation.

Read More »