Binding targets for businesses, sectors and the UK as a whole, widespread public support and pressure from shareholders is driving a rapid overhaul of how most organisations use and manage their energy. A host of different technologies, both competing and complimentary, can be used to drive down carbon emissions from your energy usage. At the same time, many can be used to address other priorities, such as countering rising energy bills or guarding against the growing risk of power disruption.
Every site, business, and organisation vary in their energy use, and a complex combination of technology solutions may be required to provide the best fit for your specific energy goals. Selecting the right technology is a challenge in itself. When factoring in the additional complexities of ensuring that each works as intended in tandem with other chosen solutions, this becomes an even more complex equation.
The Energy Trilemma
On a global scale, the World Energy Council uses the term ‘energy trilemma’ to describe the challenges faced by individual countries when managing their energy networks. The trilemma refers to three equally important priorities, that must be balanced against each other as carefully as possible:
- Energy security – Security of power supply, and the reliability and resilience of infrastructure
- Energy equity – Access to reliable, affordable energy
- Environmental sustainability – Mitigating or avoiding environmental impact from energy supply
On the smaller scale of a business or a site, the same balancing act is required. A chosen solution may be an ideal fit for one aspect of this trilemma, but fail to address or even exacerbate another. For example, diesel generators may appear ideal for addressing energy security, but they will significantly reduce your environmental sustainability.
Resilience can be an all-important aspect of this balancing act that risks being overlooked. Any measure taken to address energy costs or improve sustainability should be carefully considered through the lens of your site’s power resilience. A measure that reduces energy costs is of no use if an energy failure results in those savings being wiped out through lost productivity or opportunities, for example.
Understanding Your System
The first step towards selecting energy technology solutions that will best fit with your targets and priorities is to understand how your current system operates. By obtaining a better overview, you can more easily identify where there are opportunities to enhance efficiency, savings, resilience, or sustainability.
This can be achieved in a growing number of ways. A comprehensive site survey, carried out by industry specialists, provides a solid foundation for future analysis and planning. Vital to any good energy management strategy, site surveys ensure both that your existing infrastructure is working as intended, and that any new solutions selected will operate as intended.
Increasingly, new digital solutions are available to enhance the overview you have of your energy infrastructure. When introducing new technology to an already complex site, this is a vital step to ensure that potential problems are not overlooked.
The growth of ‘digital twin’ technology allows a digital model of your site infrastructure to be built, allowing different conditions and configurations to be tested in real time to monitor how each element interacts with the others. By doing so, a potential issue that may only arise in very specific circumstances can be identified before a project is commissioned and installed. It also provides an important ‘proof of concept’ to demonstrate that a chosen solution is feasible and will perform as intended.
To find out how Powerstar’s team can help plan your own energy infrastructure improvements and bolster site-wide power resilience, speak to one of our team here.
1 July 2021