Energy efficiency is becoming a bigger priority at the top of UK businesses

EMEX, 	Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting, 	Roadmap to Net Zero, 	ESOS , Electric Vehicle,	Battery Storage

2019 could be one of the most significant year to raise awareness of energy efficiency in businesses, with continuing technological progress and some important policy changes.

Here are a few topics to be addressed this year at EMEX on 27 and 28 November:

1. Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting

In April of 2019 the UK government’s new Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting framework will come into effect.

If you haven’t heard of Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR), you are not alone. Although over 10,000 companies will need to start collecting data and reporting on their energy, emissions and energy efficiency measures, there has been little publicity on the regulations. If you have undertaken CRC reporting then the emission element is broadly similar, however around seven thousand companies in scope will not have reported before.

The EMA has been involved with the development of SECR from inception and views it as an excellent opportunity for increasing the importance of energy management in the UK’s largest companies. The final report is a public document which in the future could be seen as not only a means of measuring a company’s emissions but a barometer on their climate change reduction credentials. Financial institutions and shareholders will use the report to gauge the risk profile of companies that ignore energy as a major financial risk.

2. Roadmap to Net Zero

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) recently published Net Zero, which sets out a science-based roadmap to carbon neutrality for the UK by 2050. The scale of this task is not insignificant but unlike many previous reports, the imminent threat of irreversible climate change means that organisations are starting to question how they can reach Net Zero.

As all energy managers know, there are a lot of moving parts and a number of trade-offs that will need to be made to get the lowest carbon footprint possible. An inconvenient truth is that some of the solutions set out in the CCC report are based on technologies that do not exist at scale, at present, and will need to be incorporated when available. Whilst this is a thirty-year journey the major savings will need to be implemented in the short term. The plan drawn up excludes offsets but does include the purchase of green energy with caveats. The elements of the plan are based on the EMA SECR methodology.

3. ESOS Phase Two

We are now in Phase 2 of the ESOS compliance scheme so let’s recap some facts. The ESOS Regulations 2014 is a reiteration of the Article 8 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive and mandate that large organisations in the UK undertake comprehensive assessments of energy use and energy efficiency opportunities at least once every four years.

If you are unsure if you qualify for ESOS, refer to full ESOS guidance, which includes additional information on how to assess if your organisation qualifies.

In order to comply with ESOS, the large UK organisations are required to take some important steps before the compliance deadline of 5 December 2019. ESOS is part of British law so even a hard Brexit will not change the requirement to report.

4. Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicle (EV) tech is improving and for those who own one the driving is great.

Against the backdrop of improving technology and accelerating climate change, the UK Government has published its Road to Zero Strategy, which foresees that a third of the UK’s fleet on the road in 2030 will be electric. The government has also vowed to end sales of internal combustion vehicles in the UK by 2040.

This is an optimistic prediction considering 2030 is only eleven years away. Furthermore there is a problem with zero emissions at the tail pipe, as the energy must be provided by the grid and the resulting load will not be inconsiderable.

Don’t get me wrong, there will be a huge increase in the number of electric vehicles on the road, but the charging infrastructure needed and local power constraints which will kick in with mass ownership will be a real headache.

These increases in EV charging demand will have to be managed by better consumer engagement, smart-charging technology, and other innovative vehicle-to-grid solutions at scale.

5. Battery Storage

This is one area that could become really exciting because you could benefit from hosting batteries. Work is being undertaken to allow DNOs to source contracts for battery services in the area of Demand Side Response.

Simply put, the DNO could work out the cost of upgrading, reinforcing or building in resilience and instead of building new substations, they could meet their requirements by contracting out demand reduction services through contracts with independent aggregators.

The aggregators would install batteries at large sites that use power at peak. Energy stored off peak would be used to reduce power. The demand reduction would not require the site to reduce energy use but use the stored power thereby reducing demand from the grid. Such contracts could help sites, through load shifting, turn peak time use into a profit centre.

2019 could be a great year for our profession and for our credibility within our organisations, as energy efficiency becomes a Board agenda item.

The legislative landscape in 2019 has aligned to put this high on the Board priorities and more importantly, there is a realisation that cost management and changing consumer focus are adding greater importance to this area.

I look forward to meet you all at EMEX on 27 and 28 November in London where previous topics and many others will be addressed and the latest energy efficient products and services will be showcased.

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