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Distributed energy future: Centrica’s insights behind sustainable business growth (industry insights)






Energy consumption is changing, both in the way it is consumed and viewed, particularly as organisations are now broadening their understanding around the ‘power’ of energy. Instigated by an ageing National Grid, which is increasingly experiencing challenges in managing modern electrical demands, there is an intensifying need for companies to invest in smart energy technologies that will make their energy use smarter as a strategic asset.

Centrica Business Solution’s[1] latest industry report expands on its previous research to provide an enhanced understanding of how sustainability ranks as one of the highest concerns for businesses, particularly as shareholders and the Government begin to hold organisations to account for carbon emissions and the efforts actively being taken to reduce harmful energy consumption.

Centrica’s thorough and insightful research will form the basis of this industry insight, and from this Powerstar will assist you to understand:

  • Key Outcomes
  • What Does it Take to Become A Sustainable Business?
  • Why Innovation is Essential
  • Defining Vision and Investing Positively
  • Futureproofing energy needs with customer expectations in mind
Key Outcomes

An inspiring insight at the forefront of Centrica’s report is an understanding that; ‘organisations who view energy as a strategic asset to be managed for competitive advantage rather than a cost, are those who continue to outperform their competition’. This suggests a change in mindset is already underway for energy-intensive businesses to better understand and utilise their energy. It also raises awareness that organisations are exploring new methods of controlling and understanding their site’s energy consumption.

This highlights that by implementing smart energy solutions & technologies such as those offered by Powerstar, an organisation can not only improve operational efficiency but also gain greater control over business risk, thereby improving competitive advantage and financial performance.

Interestingly, the report emphasises that just one in eight organisations believe that they are effectively balancing the economic and environmental challenges facing their business. Such organisations are referred to as ‘sustainable businesses’, which seem to be few and far between, as it is also understood that whilst many businesses are making significant progress, a substantially large percentage are still at the start of their energy efficiency journey.

“Whilst many businesses are making significant progress, a substantially large percentage are still at the start of their energy efficiency journey”

Research found 18% of organisations see energy as an asset to be managed to generate revenue and competitive advantage, and goes on to confirm that those who prioritise business sustainability by aligning their energy plan in the context of the wider business strategy, successfully experience notable growth prospects, improved brand reputation and a visible reduction in costs.

What Does it Take to Become A Sustainable Business?

To address concerns of efficiency and sustainability whilst helping to reduce costs alongside carbon emissions, companies can utilise smart energy technologies to complement existing onsite equipment and provide tangible benefits. As the report highlights; 67% of today’s businesses have an energy strategy with specific targets, actions or budgets, compared with just 58% in 2017. However, becoming a truly sustainable business is understood to go above and beyond the previously accepted norm. Powerstar manufactures a range of technologies including smart distribution transformers which offer low losses and performance data, voltage optimisation which optimises incoming voltage to provide consumption and cost reductions, and battery energy storage which enables the flexible use of energy and power resilience through full UPS capabilities, all of which can be deployed in isolation or combined to provide maximum benefit towards a sustainable future.

Centrica believe that the modern sustainable business has a relentless customer focus in everything they do. This includes contribution towards local communities as it continues to innovate and challenge legacy thinking, all whilst working to improve the environment.

Ultimately, customers are the ones driving change. Increasingly at Powerstar, businesses seek advice on the most suitable method of integration and implementation of smart energy technology in line with their own energy needs and goals – but there is also a visible shift in recognising customer needs and Government wants.

An impactful and lasting legacy of the second season of Blue Planet,[2] is the awareness and call to action instigated to be more aware of climate change. There is a collective understanding from clients and their consumers that the world needs to rectify years of human pollution and waste creation. Research from Waitrose and Partners[3] revealed, that after the documentary aired a staggering 88% of people who watched the programme have since changed their behaviour and attitude towards sustainability showcasing the heightened awareness and expectations of buyers.

These motivations are driving customers to act in accordance to the sustainable business model highlighted by Centrica. By adopting long-term thinking, 56% of sustainable businesses are ensuring that their organisation has access to the energy it needs, and through the innovation of technology; 76% of businesses are utilising data collected from sensors and smart devices to improve decision making.

This level of smart integration is offered across Powerstar technologies. Our remote monitoring capabilities are utilised across our solutions, replacing traditional Human Machine Interfaces(HMI), you can now explore the characteristics and benefits your assets are providing from any location with an internet connection, at your convenience. This provides peace of mind in knowing that a dedicated team of Powerstar engineers are continuously monitoring your system to protect against any energy-related failures as well as the ability to identify further optimisations based on data and intelligence.

Why Innovation is Essential

The organisations that are predicted to grow the most exponentially over the next five years are those that are pursuing digitalisation the most aggressively.

87% of sustainable businesses agree that whilst becoming more digitalised, resilience to power interruptions is increasingly important. Powerstar’s market-leading, patented solutions such as the Powerstar VIRTUE energy storage solution offers an integrated energy management and microgrid solution with smart grid control. As with all Powerstar solutions, Powerstar VIRTUE is a bespoke product, developed in line with every individual client’s needs. The benefits of this system are numerous; however, the overall purpose of energy storage is to deliver fundamental improvements to the way that electricity is generated, delivered and consumed.

Powerstar VIRTUE can maximise the use of on-site renewable energy sources through the process of storing an excess of renewable energy for later usage, thereby minimising any intermittency issues and reducing reliance on the grid, all whilst improving the reliability of renewable generation assets.

Defining Vision and Investing Positively

Investment in low carbon, smart energy technologies not only provides reputational benefits for businesses upon which to build their environmental credentials whilst working on their brand positioning, but it is also helping organisations to comply with regulatory standards and legislation whilst reducing emissions and improving efficiency.

Centrica state that 49% of sustainable businesses have met their emissions or environmental targets as a result of investing in energy technology, whilst 55% have achieved compliance with regulation and legislations imposed by governing bodies.

Solutions such as Powerstar’s Voltage Regulation technology which is used to optimise and condition incoming power supply, can ensure the voltage supplied is an optimal level for the on-site electrical equipment and appliances reducing wear and tear, and granting longevity

This technology not only reduces energy consumption and carbon emissions, but also provides significant savings on electricity bills. As voltage regulation works to improve the quality of power being supplied to the site by balancing phase voltages and filtering harmonics where required, investment in this solution when coupled with other Powerstar smart energy technologies, can help to achieve and surpass company emissions and environmental targets. A must for any long-term thinking, sustainable organisation.

In Summary; Steps to Becoming A More Effective, Sustainable Business

It is understood that businesses are maturing at different speeds but there are four clear steps which you can take to accelerate your business’ transformation to the smart use of energy.

  1. Link energy to your business results
  2. Balance digital transformation with your energy requirements
  3. Take active steps to minimise your risk
  4. Have a clear vision of how your organisation can lower its carbon emissions

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