A comprehensive approach – Carbon neutrality
For a number of years, businesses have looked to enhance their use of electricity and energy efficiency through isolated solutions, resulting in small, incremental improvements. However, with heightened responsibility and pressure to identify, implement and report on such measures, a wider strategy that focuses on providing tangible and significant impact must be considered.
The former approach, in many cases, has led to disconnected energy management with a lack of integration between the solutions and the wider site opportunities. However, through the advent of Industry 4.0 and advancements in smart energy technologies, businesses now have the ability to implement a comprehensive energy strategy in which an entire site’s energy generation and consumption can be analysed, whilst potential integrated solutions can be recommended and refined on a continual basis in response to predictive modelling and historical analysis. Through such a comprehensive approach, common energy management challenges such as carbon neutrality can be addressed.
Low carbon generation
One of the main energy-related challenges affecting businesses is the objective to become carbon neutral. Both environmental goals drive these objectives as climate change threatens to reach catastrophic levels, and monetary goals to minimise costs as Governments disincentivise carbon-intensive activities, as seen through the UK Government increasing the Climate Change Levy for electricity by 45% in April this year.
To achieve carbon neutrality, opportunities to both better utilise existing/new generation assets and optimise existing electricity usage, must be considered. For example, battery energy storage can be implemented as part of a comprehensive approach to significantly reduce carbon emissions by maximising on site generation, whether already installed or implemented simultaneously.
Onsite generation is most beneficial when it is running optimally and energy storage can assist with this. In the case of solar PV, energy storage can store the excess energy which is generated at peak times for use at a later point, when the desirable generation conditions are no longer present, therefore maximising the usage of renewable, and consequently, low-carbon energy.
The below graph visually displays the process of storing solar energy at peak generation for later use.
This stored renewable energy can also be used to charge an electric vehicle (EV) fleet, further reducing a business’ overall carbon footprint. Whilst an EV fleet is clearly heading in the right direction for businesses becoming carbon neutral, they are still typically charged by connecting them to the grid, thereby still creating carbon emissions by proxy. By utilising stored renewable energy to charge EVs, businesses can achieve a truly carbon-neutral fleet.
Reduced consumption leads to reduced emissions
Furthermore, other smart energy solutions and technologies can be integrated as part of a wider, smart energy strategy to reduce the energy consumption, and therefore carbon emissions, of a site. One such technology is voltage regulation, which reduces the incoming voltage to a more optimal level and therefore reduces the energy consumption of a site.
This is an important step, as although low carbon sources of energy should be prioritised, not all businesses are in a position to be able to invest heavily in renewable generation, or have the space available to do so. Therefore, a less resource intensive approach to lowering carbon emissions is needed with voltage optimisation being a perfect way of delivering this. Due to lowering the energy consumption, voltage regulation consequently leads to a reduction in the carbon emissions produced by a site and can therefore be a simple step on the way towards carbon neutrality.
This effect can also be produced by updating the High Voltage (HV) infrastructure through replacing a traditional cold-rolled grain-oriented (CRGO) silicon steel transformer with an amorphous core transformer such as Powerstar SO-LO. The amorphous core’s flexible material allows magnetisation and demagnetisation to occur quicker, leading to greater efficiencies and a reduction in carbon emissions.
Carbon neutrality is a key issue as the fight against climate change progresses. Utilising a variety of integrated smart energy technologies as part of a comprehensive energy strategy, is an immediate step that businesses can implement to accelerate their carbon neutrality journey.