Achieving Net Zero: future proofing and government regulation – Q&A

Net zero is an admirable goal, but there are lots of potential pitfalls when trying to accomplish it

Big Zero Report 2022

When did Net Zero become a really hot topic for the Utilities Industry?

Really it has just been over the past 5 years, Governments are increasingly imposing regulations on energy and utility companies to reduce their carbon footprint. In April 2021 the UK government set the world’s most ambitious climate change target into law to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels (UK Government, 2021).   However, in the US in April 2021, the White House backed a 2030 path to net zero with efforts to require the U.S. grid to get 80% of its power from emissions-free sources. This type of initiative has prompted more activity from the UK Government.

Utilities can greatly help with Net Zero but will the cost be transferred to the Customer or where else do you see examples of Government Compliance resulting in better company-wide Net Zero initiatives that are not reliant on the Customer paying more?

Energy and utility companies have many options for reducing impacts on the environment through using new innovation to help the Government hit this target, but they must also ensure that their customers are not paying more than they should be, nor are they getting less service than they expect. However, several companies have discovered that net zero can be achieved without increasing costs of production or reduction in customer service. Coca cola for example are aiming to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 using their science-based target and reducing plastic bottle proliferation. In Brazil, Coke aims for 40% of its bottles to be returnable this year.

What are the realities of achieving Net Zero for Utility Companies Brand Perception?

By achieving net zero, your company can not only help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also gain brand recognition and value which helps to retain customers and reduce churn, one company that prides themselves on this is E-on Energy.  Their mission is to help make customers’ homes smarter, more efficient and cost less to run while helping the world get a cleaner energy system.

How do young people perceive Utility companies?

The 2021 Gen Z and Millennial survey by Deloitte identified a shift in buyer behaviour in young adults.

“28% of all respondents said they’ve started or deepened their consumer relationships with businesses whose products and services benefit the environment. Conversely, about the same number have stopped or lessened relationships with organizations whose offerings they see as harming the planet.”

Additionally, when businesses take steps toward going green, it helps instill trust among customers who may be concerned about how your business is treating its surroundings.

Compliance with UK Government regulations. What do we need to Know?

The Climate Change Act commits the UK government by law to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 100% of 1990 levels (net zero) by 2050. To achieve compliance with this regulation, a company must therefore create an energy model that shows customers how much CO2 they will produce over a given year. Then, to offset those emissions, a company can plant trees (carbon offsets), purchase renewable-energy certificates (green tags), use on-site renewable generation resources, improve their infrastructure, reporting and processes or engage in any other activity that reduces carbon emissions. The key is that all activities related to achieving compliance must be 100% accounted for by one source. A good example of this is farms changing from growing crops to becoming solar farms, and plans for these changes to farm usage have almost doubled in the last few months (The Guardian, 2021).

What have Birlasoft done themselves concerning going Green?

At this point I would like to explain some of Birlasoft’s own green credentials. We have initiated many projects to cut down energy and water consumption in our Indian offices. Recently, one project undertaken is to generate energy through solar power plants which have been installed on the rooftop of the company’s registered office situated in Pune. This installation will reduce the impact of direct sunlight on the rooftop of cafeteria. The floors below will be much cooler, and employees will get more comfort during summers. The System has 737 panels installed with a generation capacity of 265 kW.  It will reduce carbon emissions by 335 metric tonnes each year.

What are the easy wins for Businesses to reduce their environmental impact?

To save on operating costs, many energy and utility companies are seeking out renewable sources of energy that can be paired with existing systems. By doing so, these companies can greatly reduce their environmental impact without increasing their costs of production. A popular option is solar power because it is affordable, easy to implement, does not require expensive infrastructure upgrades and presents no threat to grid stability. However, it is not just about new sources but the infrastructure behind them, then construction, monitoring, and maintenance of this infrastructure. Birlasoft have a range of solutions and frameworks that are helping businesses to implement, predict and monitor these extremely complex systems.

How do Businesses Future Proof?

Futureproofing is a great approach to make sure your business is successful. Companies that are truly future proof are operating efficiently, have good leadership, listen to their customers, adapt to new trends, and maintain their reputation. The best way to future proof your business is to consider how technologies will change in order to be prepared for any opportunities or challenges they may bring. You should also research ways you can improve your products or services before anyone else does. According to a recent report, the Government spending on R&D in 2021 to 2022 is £14.9 billion, its highest level in four decades (UK Government BEIS Report, 2021). Much of this spending is dedicated to renewables and greener energy sources. This shows their progress towards their target of increasing total public and private R&D investment.

Net zero is an admirable goal, but there are lots of potential pitfalls when trying to accomplish it. This blog has explored some ways that energy and utility companies can achieve net zero status while still providing competitive rates to customers. This is only an insight, reach out to us and we will be happy to explore your net zero opportunities.

Contact and sales details

For more information please reach out to the Birlasoft team.

Website: https://www.birlasoft.com/

Energy: https://www.birlasoft.com/industries/energy-and-resources

Utilities: https://www.birlasoft.com/industries/utilities

Sales Contact Email: [email protected]

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/birlasoft/

Office: London Office, 4th Floor, 53-54 Grosvenor Street, London – W1K 3HU

Phone: +44 20 7319 5700

Email: [email protected]

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