Energy management in winter
Whilst the challenges and opportunities associated with energy management in winter are largely present all year round, they are often exacerbated by characteristics of the winter months, including adverse weather and increased consumer demand.
Winter energy woes
For many businesses, such as retailers, manufacturers, hoteliers and logistics, winter is the busiest point in the year, due to longer opening hours and higher customer expectations. This, coupled with colder and darker days results in a rise in energy consumption, and therefore costs.
Climate change is adding to the challenge of energy management in winter, a key trend that will affect energy consumption is seasonal weather patterns becoming more pronounced and changeable with unexpected weather events impacting businesses, as seen with the autumn 2019 flooding in northern England, and the storm named ‘beast from the east’ in 2018.
Whilst winter exacerbates challenges for energy managers, as the new year begins, there are a number of key challenges present year-round including:
- Uncertainty and volatility around energy prices and the cost implications
- Increasing power failures and issues present on the National Grid threatening to bring interruptions to critical processes
- Availability of useful, accessible data to use in reporting and for ongoing monitoring and improvements
- Increased reporting and compliance requirements, such as SECR
- Budget constraints and competing priorities reducing support for new investment in energy efficient assets
Combating cost concerns
As energy prices continue to rise, energy managers must seek new ways to generate cost savings on electricity bills to insulate them.
One option available is implementing proven technology that reduces electrical consumption and therefore provides consistent cost reductions is voltage optimisation. Voltage optimisation works by optimising the voltage supplied to a site to better match the voltage required by on-site electrical equipment. Typically, the energy from the grid is supplied at 242V; however, most appliances are designed for around 220V, leading to overvoltage and leaving businesses paying for energy that they are not utilising.
By reducing this overvoltage, electricity consumption reductions of 8-10% can be achieved resulting in CO2 reductions and cost savings. As savings are based on a % of annual kWh consumption, monetary savings increase proportionately as prices rise. Given that electricity bills have risen on average 30% – 40% due to fixed rate contracts ending, it can deliver sizeable benefits for businesses of all types.
Powerstar’s patented voltage optimisation systems come with a 100% savings guarantee, as well as a warranty of 15 years with an expected life of 50, and the system delivers additional benefits such as reducing equipment wear and tear.
For very high energy users or those with on-site generation, battery energy storage technology such as Powerstar VIRTUE may also be applicable. A core function of Powerstar VIRTUE is the capability to shift energy consumption from the grid out of peak periods by charging the batteries off peak, or from on-site generated energy, and using this stored energy to lessen the impact of peak tariff periods or to reduce reliance on the National Grid.
Shifting demand can reduce energy costs by minimising peak charges which is particularly beneficial during winter, enabling organisations to minimise energy consumption in Triad periods, which can result in considerable additional expense if an organisation has high energy use at these times. Triad periods are used to calculate TNUoS charges, and are based on an energy user’s consumption during the highest 3 half hourly demand peaks in winter, resulting in hefty charges in the spring for those that are unable to intelligently reduce their consumption during such periods.
Additionally, Powerstar VIRTUE has a range of other benefits that can minimise costs and generate revenues, such as the ability to partake in demand side response (DSR) contracts which help balance the grid and can combine with other energy solutions to optimise energy management through an online remote monitoring platform.
Another growing concern for many businesses is the growing number of interruptions to the power supply caused by voltage dips/spikes, brownouts or even blackouts. Whilst often short in duration, those with sensitive operations can experience costly disruptions to their business operations, especially those operating sensitives equipment.
Powerstar VIRTUE can resolve security of supply issues by providing power resilience through full uninterruptible power supply (UPS) capabilities. Using stored energy, Powerstar VIRTUE can rapidly or even seamlessly support the entire connected load from loss of power, and prevent disruption to processes, saving time, resources, and the cost of dealing with disruption.
Monitoring and Measuring
Energy managers are under increasing pressure to enhance their reporting capabilities, and with such a broad range of responsibilities, the mass amount of data can quickly become a challenge.
Powerstar’s remote monitoring platform supports energy managers in assessing energy performance, with information easily visible through a user-friendly platform. Data is presented in a digestible form, allowing for easy tracking of efficiency asset performance, and information for reporting on consumption and CO2 savings. The key metrics available through the remote monitoring platform assists energy managers with monitoring compliance, and enables less time-consuming reporting.
Budging on budget
Energy managers are often constrained when it comes to allocating budgets with activities that are core to the business taking priority over sustainable investment. With this in mind, Powerstar offers a range of flexible finance options that enables businesses to deploy smart energy technologies without capital outlay through its flexible finance options.
To find out more about how you can energy management can be optimised for efficiency, contact us below to discuss options applicable to your site. If you wish to learn more but aren’t ready to discuss your requirements directly, Powerstar will be holding a webinar on cutting costs by improving energy efficiency for high energy users, on 22 January, click here to register your place.
To discuss how you can improve energy efficiency and meet challenges including those affecting businesses in winter, complete the form below to talk to a Powerstar expert.