Guest Blog: Ben Spry – Five resolutions for UK energy managers to make this year

npower Business Solutions, Energy HQ, launches a toolkit helping energy managers to make the business case for a long-term energy management plan

Festival Net Zero 2021

It’s a new year and a chance for UK energy managers to stop, reflect and ask which actions they can take that will really move the needle, helping their organisations meet their long-term energy efficiency and sustainability plans.

Last year, our research found 20% of UK energy managers reported that less than half of their energy efficiency plans had been implemented into business policy, suggesting they are struggling to get buy-in from senior executives to adopt a comprehensive energy management strategy.

To help energy managers overcome this obstacle, energy experts at npower Business Solutions, Energy HQ are publishing a ready-made presentation template and other resources to equip energy managers with the context, insights and statistics they need to make the business case to their board for adopting a long-term energy management plan.

With this in mind, here are five key resolutions – based on the presentation – that energy managers should make and campaign for internally, this year:

  1. Navigate big policy changes

Business consumers who have invested in flexibility initiatives are likely to face higher energy bills as a result of Ofgem’s recently announced shift to a fixed network charge, now set for 2021. Without being able to reduce charges by powering down during peak demand times – including the most expensive ‘Triad’ periods – energy managers should make the most of new opportunities emerging to earn revenue from flexibility. That is, by participating in the Capacity Market, National Grid’s Balancing Services and new local schemes by Distribution Operators, plus wholesale market optimisation.

  1. Check you’re on track to meet net zero

The business case for achieving net zero emissions goes beyond mere green credentials. Non-commodity energy costs are set to rise by at least 20% over the next five years, mostly coming from green levies. Business energy managers should follow government guidance – ensuring their buildings have strong energy performance ratings, decarbonising transport and encouraging greener ways of working – to meet their businesses’ own sustainability goals and to help offset future charges and penalties.

  1. Promote healthy carbon behaviour

One of the least obvious, but most effective ways, energy managers can reduce consumption is by promoting greener behaviour among staff. Energy managers can kick-start this by commissioning a carbon psychology assessment to ascertain key drivers for staff engagement and then identify bespoke measures to increase staff awareness and encourage ownership of energy savings. Taking this a step further, they can even deliver a company-wide ‘switch-off’ campaign.

  1. Invest in onsite generation and battery storage

While onsite generation and battery storage require up-front financing, they allow businesses to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and, at the same time, pave the way to start engaging in demand side response (DSR). This gives energy managers greater control, allowing them to sell surplus energy back to the grid during periods of peak demand, simultaneously earning extra revenue while also helping to support the evermore renewably-focused grid of the future.

  1. Drive efficiency with effective reporting and monitoring

Most energy managers are already well aware of the need to install smart or AMR metering, but it is vital that this is also underpinned with advanced reporting and monitoring processes. At a base level, this allows them to monitor and periodically adjust their energy use. However, energy managers should consider upgrading to a more sophisticated package that allows them to undertake more active management, as well as forecasting future consumption to drive greater efficiencies and cost reduction.

Ben Spry is Head of Flexibility Services at npower Business Solutions, Energy HQ..

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