Key message from EMEX? The future’s bright.

We’re proud to have been part of EMEX 2017 in London. The mood was of optimism and positivity about the future of the energy industry, with key themes of efficiency, partnerships, flexibility and the expanding role of energy managers coming through strongly in the topics covered.

Efficiency is everything

Richard Hughes, Director of Sales and Marketing at EDF Energy was first up in the Renewables, Battery and Storage area, talking about how energy innovation can futureproof organisations as the UK makes its energy transition.

He looked at the challenges of cost, capacity and reliability as well as policy facing our industry and how innovation provides the key to meeting those challenges through schemes like DSR and Capacity Market or tech like battery, cogeneration and electric vehicles.

But he highlighted that before you invest in technology or flex your consumption you need to get the basics right- get your key stakeholders together to talk about energy, make sure you know your energy profile inside out by collecting good and reliable data. Focus on your low hanging fruit first of all-lighting, equipment, operational schedules and make sure they’re working as well as they could be. Rachel Toreson-Owuor from Bucks Council added that organisations should avoid the ‘fit and forget’ approach to energy efficiency. It needs to be a constantly evolving activity able to respond to organisational and external changes.

The year of the energy manager

Linked to the above, Richard described the changing role of the energy manager to include sustainability, fleet, construction and Corporate Social Responsibility as well as price. Wendi Wheeler from NW rail concurred, sharing her experience of implementing behaviour change in a large organisation. She said it’s vital that energy managers have high profile visibility within an organisation in order to keep energy on the corporate priority list.

Win Friends and Influence People

Wendi echoed Rich’s presentation in underlining the need for business engagement with efficiency and sustainability at all levels of an organisation. Asking people to deviate from their core focus of work is challenging. But she said this can be overcome by making energy managers keeping a high profile alongside (and not hidden behind) sustainability. Her panel of energy experts from local authority and police advised that the best way to do this is to build your energy strategy narrative around the priorities of key stakeholders and understand what’s driving their activities. Unfortunately low carbon isn’t high on every department’s priority list. Cost-saving is.

Choosing perfect partnerships

Another key factor to successful energy projects is to choose experts and partners wisely. Tim Gray from Imtech emphasised the benefits of collaboration when sharing his experience of collaboration through working with Harrogate’s Estates team and Imtech’s Engineering Services team working within the Carbon Energy Fund (CEF) framework to identify, design and install numerous innovative improvements to the mechanical and electrical systems across the hospital. The results were guaranteed savings from energy and reduced maintenance costs, providing financial and carbon benefits to the Trust.

Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility

Chris Regan, Head of Business Development for EDF Energy spoke at the new Flexible Power Zone on how flexing your assets can unlock new revenue streams, with a focus on our new energy trading portal PowerShift, launching January 2018. The need for flexibility is increasing as intermittent non-synchronous generation grows. The traditional market for flex is reducing as flexible, dispatchable power stations close. Therefore customers flex will fill the gap. PowerShift offers customers the chance to optimise their energy usage across several markets as well as access to the UKs day ahead market. So if you have battery or participate in DSR or Capacity Market, you can open up even more opportunity to profit from flexibility.

Our key take-aways from the event

  1. Lead with efficiency- your cost savings will get buy in for further investment in innovation, with low carbon coming as part of the activity.
  2. Make your energy managers visible- their role is vital in bringing key decision makers together
  3. Collaborate- with your broker, supplier and strategic partners.
  4. Be flexible- you will get rewarded.
  5. However small your steps, act now to align with our energy transition.

We face big challenges as suppliers, consumers and policy makers. But as our colleagues at EMEX described, we have the technology and the desire to meet these challenges head on and deliver the low carbon, efficient and flexible energy system this country needs.

For more info on PowerShift and DSR get in touch with us.

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