It’s not too early to start thinking about ESOS phase 3

The deadline for the third phase of ESOS is on 5 December 2023, but it is never too early to start your carbon reporting process. Although working on a distant deadline may not seem like a priority, planning ahead may save considerable time and money.

Regulated by The Environment Agency, the mandatory compliance scheme aims to ensure that big energy users are working as efficiently as possible. Businesses that qualify for the scheme must have compliance plans in place to avoid fines and civil penalties.

The first step towards assessing an organisation’s carbon footprint is to conduct an energy audit. Energy audits assess total consumption within a business including buildings, industrial processes and transport usage. This is also crucial for understanding where a business could save money through energy conservation.

Who qualifies for ESOS?

ESOS is mandatory for large UK organisations that meet one of more of the following criteria:

  • Employ at least 250 people.
  • Have an annual turnover excess of €50 million and an annual balance sheet excess of €43
  • Are part of a corporate group containing a large enterprise.

Businesses that qualify must carry out ESOS assessments every four years. While fines differ from case to case, they can include an immediate £50,000 fine or £500 per day for up to 80 working days. Businesses who refuse to comply also run the risk of having their information published online.

What are the benefits of ESOS?

You may be thinking, why should I start thinking about phase 3 so early? Starting work towards phase 3 now means you are able to explore different options before deciding on the perfect one for your business. Becoming more energy efficient now will also mean environmental and financial benefits in the long term.

The two most significant benefits of ESOS lie in the reduction of carbon emissions and lowering of energy bills. If approached correctly, ESOS could bring benefits for both the business in question and the environment, in the form of cost effective savings.

ESOS has been predicted to deliver a total of £1.6 billion in savings to UK businesses between 2015 and 2030. Some of the most common areas in which savings are found include lighting, air conditioning and metering. EIC can also provide intelligent procurement: further simplifying our client’s energy management and reducing their utility costs.

Putting off compliance plans may also leave you vulnerable to price increases. Phase 1 of the scheme more than 40% of businesses were still not compliant 4 months after the deadline. If this were to happen again, in excess of 2,800 firms would be fined and in turn suppliers would be forced to raise their prices again. By identifying areas of carbon reduction, ESOS can also improve your Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) narrative. While they are separate schemes, information gained from ESOS can be used to manage energy efficiency in annual reports.

How can EIC help with your compliance needs?

Our carbon team have extensive experience with complex compliance legislation and are dedicated to helping you reach deadlines efficiently. Our Lead Assessors and highly trained Auditors are on hand to assist you throughout your compliance process.

We have assisted over 550 clients with their ESOS journey, and in doing so have identified 4.65 million tonnes worth of CO2 savings. This has meant that our clients have avoided approximately £80 million worth of fines over phase 1 and 2.

Whilst balancing other jobs and responsibilities, schemes may seem like a hassle. Fortunately, EIC can help turn that obligation into an opportunity for your organisation.  Get in touch to find out how we can help you start your compliance journey.

What nuclear fusion means for big energy users

Big energy users rely on the UK’s power network to provide safe, reliable electricity for their ongoing business stability. While the use of renewable energy is reaching an all-time high, concerns linger about its reliability. Nuclear fission has been supporting the drive to lower emissions but remains controversial and recently, science has been looking to the future. Could nuclear fusion be the solution?

Every business uses electricity but smaller companies and low level energy users can often handle short outages. Unfortunately big energy users are not so lucky. While solar and wind can be powerful contributors to the grid, they can’t meet all our energy needs. To decarbonise energy-intense industries such as industry or aviation, the development of hydrogen and nuclear is essential.

How does fusion work?

Unlike nuclear fission which splits an atom to release the energy and heat we need for electricity, fusion does it by combining two atoms. Under intense heat and pressure, two positively charged hydrogen isotopes are forced together to create a heavier element.  This releases the same heat and energy we see in fission.

While the process is more complicated than fission, the end result is far safer and more sustainable. It produces almost no radioactive waste material and if the system gets overwhelmed it shuts down automatically so there’s no risk of a meltdown. Not to mention, it is 25% of the cost of nuclear and half the cost of wind energy.

Fission power is fuelled by uranium which is mined, refined and remains dangerous for thousands of years after use. The fuel for fusion power is deuterium. This is found in seawater and the earth has a near limitless supply.

Fusion power promises clean, reliable energy and a consistent output day or night whatever the weather. Renewable power will certainly remain a key part of the plan but with the help of fusion power, we could completely eliminate the use of coal, oil and natural gas.

What is the problem?

Currently, efficiency is the big issue. Existing reactor designs have struggled to produce more electricity than they require for operation. This is mostly due to the scale of the designs and the fuel used for testing. Scientists have been working on the project for decades but lately, a lot of progress has been made. Current research aims to have a functioning, economically viable fusion reactor online by 2030.

The progress of this technology is often compared to the advancements made in microchip design. The processing power of a microchip doubles every year, (following a principle called Moore’s Law). Fusion research has followed a very similar trend.

If progress continues at the current pace, scientists hope to meet their targets and bring fusion into the fight against fossil fuels.

What do we do until then?

The main problem with nuclear fission reactors is the cost. Taking an average of 6 years to build and costing billions of pounds they represent a big commitment. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait until 2030 for the next advancement in energy technology. Small modular reactors and hydrogen fuel are getting ready to bridge the gap.

Small reactor, big energy

A popular option amongst energy researchers today is the Small Modular Reactor (SMR). These portable, self-contained reactor buildings are designed to be mass produced so they can be plugged into a power facility to generate electricity. Once used up, they would be returned to the manufacturer or moved into deep storage. SMR technology has made great progress in the last year and researchers hope to have a working model online in the next 5 years.

Hydrogen fuel

Nuclear power stations can also generate the temperatures required for the production of hydrogen fuel. The market for hydrogen has been growing steadily and is likely to maintain this trajectory in years to come. While not as energy dense as most fuels, hydrogen is more efficient than current battery technology and could greatly benefit the growing electric car market.

Where does EIC come in?

EIC are passionate about cutting edge technology. We regularly explore all the latest advancements and choose the best options for our clients. While fusion power may not be an immediate solution, the future for clean energy looks bright.

At EIC, we can help you manage your energy needs and ensure you meet your emissions targets. Our bespoke services can transform your energy strategy and integrate sustainability into the foundation of your organisation.

From procurement to onsite generation, we can help you find the most efficient and cost effective green energy solutions for your business. To learn more about working towards a clean, efficient energy future, contact us at EIC.

Triad demand rises despite winter lockdown

National Grid have published the three Triad dates for the 2020/21 season, which are listed in the table below. For a ninth consecutive year EIC has successfully called an alert on each of these days.

EIC hit all three Triads with only 14 Red alerts issued.

There was an increase in the number of Triad calls this year with 24 alerts issued in total. This compares favourably with other suppliers who called an average of 30 alerts across the Triad period.

triad dates

Triads are three half-hour periods with the highest electricity demand between the start of November and the end of February. Each Triad must be separated by at least 10 clear days. This means consecutive days of high demand won’t result in multiple Triads. If consumers are able to respond to Triad alerts by reducing demand then they will be able to lower their final transmission costs.

First increase in peak demand for 6 years

This winter saw the first increase in peak demand since 2014/15 and the largest year-on-year increase since 2007/08. There are a number of factors which contributed to this including lower temperatures, a reduction in demand-side response and an increase in domestic consumption. While peak demand increased from last winter, average demand decreased by around 2%.

The rise in coronavirus cases at the start of the winter led to the Government imposing further lockdown measures. This led to a reduction in the number of businesses reacting to Triad calls and reducing demand at peak times. Our analysis has suggested there was up to 1GW less demand-side response than the previous winter. The lockdown also signalled a return to home schooling and working from home which subsequently increased domestic consumption. This increase was mainly driven by lighting and heating which are typically less efficient in homes than in schools and businesses.

The trendline below shows that weekday peak demand over the Triad period increased by an average of 0.5GW for every 1°C decrease in average temperature. Some of the variation in the graph can be explained by the two national lockdowns that were in place over most of the Triad period. Our analysis of the temperature-corrected data has shown that peak demand increased by around 4-5% once lockdown conditions were lifted in December. This coincided with a drop in temperatures leading to the first Triad on 7th December.

temperature vs demand graph

Cold January leads to increase in demand

The Triad season started with long periods of mild weather during November and most of December. Temperatures fell after Christmas which led to the coldest January since 2010 and the second coldest in the past 24 years. This is in stark contrast to January 2020 which was the second mildest in the past 30 years. Across the Triad season eight weekdays had an average temperature below zero, all of these occurring after Christmas. This compares to none the previous winter and only two for the 2018/19 winter.

The graph below shows that the first Triad fell on the only day before Christmas with an average temperature below 2°C, while the second and third Triads occurred during longer cold spells during the start of January and February. Wind generation continued to have an impact on peak demand as embedded generation is not connected to the grid and is instead seen as a drop in demand. All three Triads occurred on days when wind generation was less than 5GW as the drop in demand from embedded wind generation was reduced.

temperature energy price graph

TCR Final Decision

In December 2019 Ofgem published their final decision on the Targeted Charging Review (TCR), although the implementation date has since been delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The main outcome of this decision is that from April 2022 the residual part of transmission and distribution charges will be levied in the form of fixed charges for all households and businesses. This means that there is one final chance for consumers to benefit from Triad avoidance over the 2021/22 winter period.

The TCR aims to introduce a charge that Ofgem considers is fair to all consumers and not just those able to reduce consumption during peak periods. For the majority of consumers these changes will lead to a reduction in transmission costs. However, for those who are currently taking Triad avoidance action it is likely that their future costs will rise.

Impact on Consumers

The graph below shows the average % change in DUoS and TNUoS costs across each region and meter type as a result of the TCR. Our analysis has found that most half-hourly (HH) sites will benefit from a fall in costs, however most domestic and non-half hourly (NHH) sites will see a small rise in costs. Southern areas will typically benefit from a larger decrease in costs than northern areas.

Consumers currently taking Triad avoidance action are likely to face an increase in TNUoS costs from Apr-22 as the effect of Triad avoidance is removed. Likewise, sites that have a capacity level set too high will also not benefit from the same level of cost reductions shown below as they are potentially placed in a higher charging band.

TCR graph

How EIC can help

With the confirmation that from April 2022 residual charges will be calculated using a capacity based methodology, now is the perfect time to undertake a capacity review on all of your HH sites. EIC’s Capacity Review service is a fully managed end to end offering. We undertake detailed analysis for each of your sites, outline potential savings and offer clear advice on what action you should take. If we find that your capacity can be reduced by more than 50% it may also be possible to apply for a charging band reallocation which could significantly cut your future DUoS and TNUoS charges.

EIC can also help you accurately budget and forecast your energy prices with confidence with our Long-Term Forecast Report. Our team of specialists work hard identifying trends, examining historical figures and forecasting for the future. The Long-Term Forecast Report is a valuable tool which illustrates the annual projected increases to your energy bills and calculates your energy spend over the next 5, 10, 15 or 20 years. This allows you to confidently forward budget and avoid any nasty surprises. Whilst we can’t prevent the rise of non-commodity charges, we can ensure you are fully prepared for the increases.

What the new Industrial Strategy means for big energy users

On March 17 2021, the UK government announced their plans for a new Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy. In efforts to reach net zero by 2050, more than £1 billion has been channelled into industry, schools and hospitals. The strategy’s blueprint plans to switch 20 Terawatt hours of the UK’s energy from fossil fuels to low carbon alternatives.

The world’s industry sector generates one quarter of global GDP every year, as well as a significant percentage of jobs. However, industry also makes up a staggering 24% of global energy related carbon emissions. It is for this reason that the decarbonisation strategy is vital in championing a sustainable industrial future.

The strategy aims to cut two-thirds of emissions by 2050, meaning a 90% cut in comparison to 2018 levels. In addition, three megatons of CO2 are expected to be captured from industry by 2030. If this is achieved, the UK would become an international leader in industrial decarbonisation and manufacturing of low carbon products. But what does this mean for big energy users?

How will the decarbonisation strategy impact big energy users?

Carbon pricing

A carbon pricing tool will be introduced that helps assist businesses take account of their emissions by providing them with investment decisions. These measuring tools could potentially save businesses £2 billion in annual costs.

This project will ensure that businesses are maintaining the correct policy framework in switching to low carbon products. New product standards will also ensure that manufacturers are able to clearly identify their products as low carbon.

Financial benefits

It is imperative that this green revolution comes with economic benefits. Through greater energy efficiency, it is predicted that businesses will be provided with commercial opportunities and the chance to save on costs. These opportunities will be available across not only the UK, but global market.

Transforming industrial processes to include low carbon technology will benefit businesses tenfold. Significant costs will be saved on raw materials following a push for more sustainable practices, such as 3D printing and AI. Following the economic downturn created by Covid-19, finding a green recovery for the economy is vital.

Green links

The revamped decarbonisation strategy is heavily linked to the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge, in which nine green tech projects will receive a cut of a £171 million grant. Announced last year as a £139 million project, the budget was further raised once the winner’s projects were announced. This challenge was created to support low carbon innovations across nine regions in the UK including Scotland, South Wales, Humber and Teesside.

As part of the Public Sector Decarbonation Scheme, £932 million has already been granted to 429 projects across England. This will fund low carbon heating systems such as heat pumps and, solar roof installations.

The strategy has also seen the emergence of the Infrastructure Delivery Taskforce, otherwise known as ‘Project Speed’. The taskforce will ensure that land planning is fit for low carbon infrastructure. This project will focus on delivering infrastructure that is quick, efficient and sustainable. It could also generate over 80,000 green jobs.

How can EIC help?

At EIC, we provide businesses with comprehensive energy management, as well as next generation energy technology. Our in-house services range from green energy procurement to onsite solar instalment and battery storage.

On the journey towards net zero carbon emissions, it is imperative that the economy has a sustainable Covid-19 recovery. By championing both efficiency and self-sufficiency, EIC are dedicated to finding the most suitable and sustainable solutions for your business. Get in touch to learn more about how EIC can help your business work towards a profitable and environmentally friendly future.

Targeted Charging Review (TCR) Guide

The Targeted Charging Review (TCR) was launched by Ofgem in 2017 to reduce distortion across the network. We look at how these changes will impact consumers and how we can help businesses prepare.

What does the review include?

Changes to DUoS and TNUoS

Distribution Use of System (DUoS) and Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charges cover the costs of maintaining the electricity networks that supply your energy. Ofgem will be implementing changes to these charges to ensure that costs are distributed fairly.

This means that from April 2022 a proportion of your DUoS and TNUoS charges will depend on a series of voltage-based bands.

Transmission charges (TNUoS) for non-domestic consumers will be based on a series of fixed charging bands set for the whole country. For distribution charges (DUoS) domestic consumers will pay a single residual charge set for each distribution area. Non-domestic consumers will be charged based on a set of fixed charging bands also set for each distribution area.

Bands for non-domestic customers will be determined by a consumer’s voltage level during the 24-month period ending in 2020. Some consumers may need further segmentation. For larger consumers, these boundaries can be defined based on the agreed capacity. And for smaller consumers, these can be based on net consumption volume.

The series of fixed charging bands will be published at a national level and set for each Distribution Network Area. Ofgem will review and may revise these charging bands and their boundaries so that they can be implemented alongside new electricity price controls.

Changes to Triads

The review will also remove the Transmission Generation Residual embedded benefit (Triads) from April 2022.

Triad periods are the three highest winter peak periods. They are retrospectively calculated in March each year and form the basis of the transmission network component (TNUoS) of large companies’ energy bills. By reducing consumption or switching to onsite generation during suspected Triad periods, some firms can save large amounts of money on their bills.

Ofgem believes that removing Triads is an appropriate compromise between addressing the largest distortions in the market and reducing the distributional impacts on consumers.

This leaves one final Triad season to take place over winter 21/22. Beyond that, there will no longer be any incentive for Triad avoidance. And companies that were taking action to reduce costs during Triad periods could see an increase in their electricity bills.

What impact will this have on consumers?

The TCR changes are set to benefit larger consumers with half-hourly (HH) meters whilst domestic and NHH sites will see a small rise in costs. Consumers outside of London are expected to experience a rise in DUoS fixed costs. These will be partially offset by a decrease in DUoS unit costs. Most HH sites may also benefit from a drop in TNUoS costs. Whereas domestic and NHH sites face a potential rise in TNUoS costs.

The graph below shows that southern areas are more likely to see a larger decrease in costs than northern areas. HH sites in London, for example, will see TNUoS and DUoS costs decrease by an average of 40%. Whereas HH sites in Scotland will only see an average decrease of 7%. Incidentally, London is also the only area where domestic and NHH sites will see a net benefit from the TCR changes.

Consumers currently taking Triad avoidance action are likely to face an increase in TNUoS costs from April 2022 as that benefit ends. Likewise, sites that have a higher capacity level will not see the cost reductions shown below as they could be placed in a higher charging band. Extra-high voltage sites are not included in the graph below as they are subject to site-specific tariffs and need more detailed analysis.

tcr graph

DUoS and TNUoS costs make up around a quarter of the average electricity bill so the % change in total costs is shown on the right-hand axis.

How EIC can help

The figures calculated above are based on an average consumer in each charging band. The analysis covers a wide range of consumers with varying demand profiles and cannot simply be applied to individual consumer costs.

The best way to determine exactly how the TCR will affect your business is with our Long Term Forecast Report. This provides your business with a specific breakdown of electricity costs over a 5, 10, 15 or 20 year period. This valuable report will allow you to confidently plan your long-term budget and avoid any nasty surprises.

To learn more read about our Long Term Forecast Report or contact us today.

A step-by-step guide to setting up new connections

Refurbishing your premises or expanding to new sites can add complex and time-consuming energy admin to your workload. EIC takes the stress out of this process, coordinating your organisation’s new utility connections in a seamless and hassle-free way. Here is a step-by-step guide of what to expect and prepare for on your new connections journey.

Step 1: Register

The first step is to register your requirements with the relevant parties. This is a good time to reach out to an energy specialist at EIC. We will guide you through the process, answer your questions and translate the technical jargon.

Step 2: Gather information

Moving forward, we will need some details including an idea of your estimated energy usage and your Meter point numbers. For electricity, you will need the Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN) which you can get from your local electricity distributor. For gas, you will need the Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN). For this, simply call the MPRN enquiry line. Alternatively, you can get this information from any bills you have received if it’s an existing supply.

If this is a completely new supply, you may not have received these yet, so don’t worry if you don’t have them.

At this point in the process, EIC will send a quote for the new connections service needed. If you are happy with it, we will follow up with a contract and dive in. Our goal is to power up your site or business as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Step 3: Infrastructure plans

Next, infrastructure plans will need drafting. This will mean applications, potential site work considerations, supply contracts and arranging for meter installation.

EIC provides peace of mind throughout this process by liaising with all respective parties and gathering all the necessary technical information. This includes location maps, building layouts, meter positions, and utility loading needs. If there are site works to consider, EIC can help provide temporary builder’s supply. We can also coordinate alteration or rerouting of supply with minimal disruption, and meter removals and disconnections.

setting up new connections

Step 4: Gas and power supply contracts

If you haven’t already, it is time to secure gas and electricity supply contracts. Having established relationships with a range of reputable suppliers, EIC can shop around for options that best fit your organisation’s needs. Whether you need a single connection or multi-site rollout, we can manage and deliver your power and gas requirements with ease. All the while, providing necessary updates and ensuring open communication and transparency.

Step 5: Meter Installation

After contacting the meter operator (MOP) to arrange the appropriate contracts, it is time to install meters and power up your business. EIC can simplify every aspect of this process and coordinate the design, planning and installation, upgrade or removal of your meters.

Your metering solutions will help decide the efficiency of your space and requires a thoughtful and comprehensive approach. EIC’s services extend beyond meter installations for new connections. We also provide everything from smart submetering to next-generation energy management systems. These solutions can help reduce energy costs and cut carbon emissions. Helping to build a sustainable foundation for your business from day one.

Once the meters are installed, we will make sure that they are registered and live on the national database.

Step 6: Bill validation

Once everything is up and running, it is time to run final checks and make sure you are not being overcharged. EIC helps to ensure the billing is accurate by confirming the first invoice received from the supplier reflects the agreed contract rates.

If we removed, upgraded or altered meters, we ensure the final invoice received from the supplier reflects the closing or opening meter readings respectively.

Step 7: Rest easy

By entrusting this process to EIC, project managers can now rest easy knowing that they have been provided with the most reliable, efficient and cost effective energy solutions.

Moving forward, a sustainable energy infrastructure will be essential for any growing business, especially as the UK transitions to a net zero economy. EIC can help you implement and use intelligent building strategies to cut your carbon footprint and boost your savings. This includes IoT building management systems, green lighting solutions, and carbon compliance services.

To begin, or boost, your sustainable energy journey with EIC, contact us today.

The EII Exemption Scheme: everything you need to know

What is the energy-intensive industries (EII) exemption scheme?

The EII exemption scheme aims to help big energy users stay competitive in a global market. Qualifying businesses can claim an exemption of up to 85% of their Contract of Differences (CoD), Renewables Obligation (RO), and Feed-in Tariff (FiT) costs. Providing firm financial footing in a post-Covid economy.

Why was the EII exemption scheme launched?

The UK has pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, which will require a transformative shift towards clean energy across the economy. This has resulted in a variety of government schemes which encourage the rise of electricity generated from renewable and low carbon sources.

This initiative has seen success, with renewables accounting for 47% of the UK’s generation in the first quarter of 2020. And even as consumption dropped in Q2, wind power generated electricity continued to rise due to increased capacity. This upwards trajectory is only expected to accelerate, with promising new renewable energy projects on the horizon.

The levies and obligations funding this growth are initially covered by energy suppliers. But, these costs are passed down to domestic and non-domestic consumers in the form of higher energy bills.

This puts energy-intensive businesses at a disadvantage. Especially when competing against their EU counterparts with lower energy costs. The launch of the EII exemption scheme is a solution to this problem and aims to maintain the UK’s position in the global market.

When was the scheme rolled out?

The original solution to the issue of higher costs for EIIs was a compensation scheme launched in 2016. This allowed big energy users to apply for relief from the energy costs they had already paid.

This was then replaced by the EII exemption scheme, rolled out between autumn 2017 and spring 2018. This change of approach is meant to offer energy-intensive businesses more long time certainty and stability as well as higher cost savings.

eii

Who can apply?

To be eligible for an EII exemption, a business must meet five key requirements.

  • The business must manufacture a product in the UK within an eligible sector – the “sector level test”.
  • The business must pass a 20% electricity intensity test – the “business level test”.
  • The business must not be an Undertaking in Difficulty (UID) – the UID guidelines explain that “an undertaking is considered to be in difficulty when, without intervention by the State, it will almost certainly be condemned to going out of business in the short or medium term.”
  • The business must have at least two quarters of financial data.
  • The application must contain evidence of the proportion of electricity used to manufacture the product for a period of at least three months.

Learn more about applying for an exemption certificate.

Big energy users who do not qualify for the EII exemption scheme should still be aware of rising energy costs. They should explore schemes such as Carbon Footprinting, Energy Audits, Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) and Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). These can provide invaluable insight into your environmental impact and routes to improve energy efficiency within your company.

Has Covid-19 had an impact on the scheme?

Covid-19 has thrown various sectors of the UK economy into a state of uncertainty and decline. The energy sector was especially impacted by the fall in energy consumption in the first six months of 2020. And resulted in a subsequent drop in electricity prices. This could make it more difficult to calculate a business’ energy intensity and whether it is “in difficulty”. Because of this, the government will be excluding the period from 31 December 2019 to 30 June 2020 from its assessment of whether a business is in financial difficulty or not.

How can EIC help?

Here at EIC, we support big energy users with the management of their energy, buildings, carbon and compliance. As a result, we’re able to uncover actionable insights that allow you to manage and control all elements of your energy bill on both sides of the meter.

Armed with a comprehensive understanding of government schemes and legislation, we can help turn your frustrating admin into rewarding opportunities. We can navigate complex applications such as that for the EII exemption certificate – saving you valuable time and resources.

Contact us to learn more about how EIC can help your business.

2021 outlook for big energy users

Covid-19 continues to give rise to uncertainty and financial volatility across the globe. And while there is a potential end in sight, there is still a long road to normality ahead.

Fortunately, the UK has set out a sustainable recovery plan focused on fighting climate change and revolutionising the energy sector. This green wave will bring with it a range of challenges and opportunities for big energy users across the private and public sectors.

Looking forward

With COP26 around the corner and a 2050 net zero target to consider, the UK’s decarbonisation efforts have increased significantly. The past year has seen announcements like plans for the issue of the UK’s first green bond, a 2030 ban on petrol cars, and mandatory TCFD recommendations for large businesses. These green initiatives culminated in the highly anticipated new energy white paper which maps out a clean energy transformation. Fuelled by the evolution of technology like AI and IoT, the energy landscape is predicted to be more flexible and transparent than ever before.

However, whilst it’s fairly clear what is on the horizon for the energy sector, there is less certainty around the energy market. Will energy prices continue to recover as demand rises post-Covid? Will the increased reliance on renewables make energy prices more volatile? How will Brexit impact the energy market if at all? And how can big energy users find opportunities in the current uncertainty?

EIC’s ‘2021 outlook for big energy users’ report

Our report outlines the upcoming trends for big energy users and how EIC’s team of energy specialists can help businesses stay ahead of the curve.

2021 energy outlook for big energy users

Download our ‘2021 energy outlook for big energy users’ report


How EIC can help

The UK’s decarbonisation mission will rely upon a changing energy mix, more flexible energy grids, innovative tech, and widespread improvement of energy efficiency. At EIC we like to offer next generation solutions that help our clients prepare for a green future.

Our sister company t-mac delivers compelling metering, monitoring and BMS controls solutions via our in-house team. This is just one of many innovative services that can revolutionise the way you run your business. Allowing you to manage and control all elements of your energy bill on both sides of the meter.

EIC’s services can transform your wider energy strategy to encompass efficiency and self-sufficiency. We can also guide you through compliance with complex carbon legislation, making sure you are working towards ambitious net zero targets.

To learn more about optimising your sustainability strategy contact us at EIC today.

Carbon Neutral: the newest Climate Change war cry

In 2019 EU leaders endorsed the European Commission’s Green Deal, a strategy through which to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Since then there’s been a slow but steady rise in legislation around, and investment in, renewable energy, low carbon solutions and, more recently, carbon sequestration and storage. The objective has recently been embraced by other global leaders, with recent 2050 pledges from Japan and South Korea. Even China has announced a net zero commitment by 2060.

We break down what carbon neutral means, why it is crucial in the fight against climate change, and how we can achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

 

What does carbon neutral mean?

When we hear the word carbon, we often think of something harmful that needs getting rid of, which isn’t entirely accurate. Carbon, after all, is a part of all living things, and there is a natural cycle that balances the carbon emitted with the carbon absorbed by plants and soil.

The problem is that humans have disrupted this balance by emitting more carbon than can be absorbed. Through the use of fossil fuels, the deforestation of rainforests, massive population growth, overfishing, and harmful agricultural developments, we are essentially poisoning our planet.

Carbon neutral means there’s a balance between carbon emissions and absorption, so to achieve this we have to emit less and absorb more. This can be done through the adoption of renewable energy, carbon sequestration, reforestation projects, and regenerative farming practices. This holistic approach to fighting climate change could put us on a path towards a more sustainable future.

What it means for the energy industry

Achieving carbon neutrality will require action from all sectors of the economy, the most important being the energy industry. Energy production and use is currently responsible for 75% of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. Large-scale policy will play a large part in propelling the necessary transformation across the energy industry in order to cut and even capture carbon emissions. However, it will take action from every sector within the energy industry, from buildings being made more energy efficient to our energy sources themselves.

This will mean more commitments to renewable energy options in the UK, more efficient utility monitoring and management, as well as improved energy storage options. We will have to move towards an integrated, flexible energy system that exploits local resources and reduces our reliance on imported oil and gas. There are also recent advancements in carbon sequestration and storage that can be joined with energy generation itself which can make zero or low carbon energy options carbon negative.

As with any sector, change in the energy industry requires action on the parts of everyone who produces, invests in, or consumes energy. Every building and organisation can make a difference, and EIC can help.

 

How EIC is working towards Carbon Neutral

Major changes have to be made in every sector of the economy, from the food we grow to the way we travel. We at EIC are doing everything we can to support the changes needed within the energy industry. By helping organisations monitor and reduce their carbon footprints, navigating tricky compliance legislation, and advising on green energy procurement options, we are simplifying sustainability for businesses.

Challenging Winter Ahead for Triad Season

Winter is fast approaching and the Triad season will soon begin. This is an important time for many large UK consumers as they seek to lower transmission costs by reducing demand during potential Triad periods. Triads are three half-hour periods with the highest electricity demand between the start of November and the end of February and each Triad must be separated by at least 10 clear days. This means consecutive days of high demand won’t result in multiple Triads.

If your electricity contract allows it then reducing your demand at these specific points will result in lower transmission charges. However, knowing when Triads occur is a complex business so, to help our clients, EIC provides a Triad Alert service. We have successfully forecast each of the three Triad periods for the last 8 years, saving customers millions of pounds in transmission charges.

Pandemic continues to suppress demand

Winter peak demand is at its lowest point since 1992/93 and is now 14 GW (~24%) lower than the peak of 2010/11. There are a number of factors that have contributed to the fall in peak demand over the past decade. These include improvements to the energy efficiency of appliances, an increase in LED lighting and a rise in embedded generation.

However, in 2020 we can add another significant contributor to demand reduction. The coronavirus pandemic has led to a dramatic fall in peak demand since mid-March. Demand has increased since lockdown ended but is still lower than previous years.

National Grid are currently forecasting peak demand over the Triad period to be around 43-44 GW, slightly lower than last winter’s peak of 45 GW. The winter demand forecast looks to be flatter than previous years, making predicting when Triads will fall far more challenging. It is therefore important to receive Triad alerts from a trusted and reliable source such as EIC.

EIC’s record of Triad season success

EIC has an in-house model which has successfully forecast every triad period for the last eight years. We issue clients with comprehensive alerts advising them when a Triad is forecast, so they can reduce consumption accordingly.

Our Triad Alert Service forecasts the likelihood of any particular day being a Triad and sends alerts before 10am. Businesses can then take action to avoid high usage during these periods, while minimising disruption to everyday activity. We also monitor the market throughout the day and send out an afternoon alert in the event of significant change. The daily report can also help you plan ahead with an overview of the next 14 days alongside a long-term winter outlook.

Calling daily alerts would generate a 100% success rate, however this could have a negative impact on our clients. Organisations would incur major damage to revenues if required to turn down their production each day for 4 months ‘just in case’ and at EIC our aim is to provide as few alerts as possible. Over the 2019/20 Triad period we called just 13 alerts while the average supplier issued over 20.

Triads granted extra year

In December 2019, Ofgem published their final decision on the Targeted Charging Review (TCR). The main outcome of this decision is that, from April 2021, the residual part of transmission charges will be levied in the form of fixed charges for all households and businesses. However, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic Ofgem has decided to delay this by a year. This provides an extra opportunity for consumers to benefit from Triad avoidance before TCR changes arrive in April 2022.

With the TCR, Ofgem aims to introduce a charge it considers fair to all consumers, not just those able to reduce during peak periods. For the majority of consumers these changes will lead to a reduction in transmission costs. However, for those who are currently taking Triad avoidance action it is likely that their future costs will rise.

How we can help with Triad season

We have helped hundreds of clients avoid these transmission costs by providing them with the tools needed, giving EIC an enviable track record in Triad prediction.

Last year, our customers cut demand by an average of 41% compared to standard winter peak-period half-hour consumption – resulting in significant cost savings. Clients who responded to our Triad Alerts, saved on average £180,000. Our best result last winter saw a client saving nearly £1 million in TNUoS charges.

The Triad season starts on 1 November. Find out more about our Triad Alert service.

Can a flexible energy system lead us to net zero?

A recent project launched by Carbon Trust and Imperial College will explore the potential for a flexible energy system and its future role in decarbonisation. EIC looks at what a flexible energy system is and how it can reduce the cost of reaching net zero carbon emissions in the UK by 2050.

What is a flexible energy system?

New technology has the potential to turn our passive energy system into a smarter, more sustainable one in the very near future. This means modifying generation and/or consumption patterns in reaction to change in demand or price.

There are three main ways to achieve flexibility in the energy system:

  • Interconnection: purchasing power from neighbouring markets at times of peak demand.
  • Storage: storing excess energy and using it at times of peak demand.
  • Flexibility on the demand side: consumers cut their discretionary power use at times of peak demand for financial incentive.

Until now, flexibility in the energy industry has typically been provided on the supply-side. Now it’s becoming clear that demand flexibility will be crucial for balancing the system in order to reduce costs and decrease carbon emissions. With smart meters that can reduce consumption at peak times and financial incentives, demand flexibility could be an easy and rewarding energy option for consumers and energy operators alike. A report from the National Infrastructure Commission says that £200 million a year could be shaved off the UK’s grid operating costs if just 5% of the current peak demand were met through demand-side solutions.

There are also smaller scale assets that could prove just as effective at balancing the grid, like distributed energy resources (DERs) such as nearby or on-site solar panels, wind turbines, heat pumps or batteries. By reducing demand on the system, there’s less reliance on non-sustainable energy sources during peak demand periods. These smart solutions are becoming increasingly cost effective and in-demand, evidenced by their sustained fall in price and rising investment interest.

Why the UK should lead the world in smart power

Greener policies have seen increased support in recent years, with an emphasis on renewable energy. A strategy set out in another NIC report for 2020 – 2050 recommended 50% of all generation should be supplied by renewable power by 2030, and an entirely zero-carbon electricity supply by 2050.

The question is, how can this level of renewable integration be implemented in a consistent and cost-effective way?

One of the current issues with renewable generation is it is fairly inflexible, so finding more flexibility through demand, interconnection, and storage is key. It could also be the most cost-efficient way to reach net zero. According to an NIC report, Smart Power, a more flexible power system could save consumers as much as £8 billion a year by 2030.

Finding flexibility with EIC

Achieving more flexibility in the energy system is an integral part of EIC’s client commitment. Through a variety of services, including flexible procurement, smart metering, and many years of experience working with carbon monitoring and compliance, EIC goes to great lengths to offer consumers freedom and flexibility. Our goal is to find the bespoke energy package that best suits your business or property, while simultaneously lowering your costs and carbon emissions.

Find out more about our energy management services.

 

LED lighting: Reducing costs and carbon at the same time

The past decade in carbon savings has been awash with success stories surrounding the installation of LED lighting systems. EIC has summarised a few public sector examples below and guidance on how your properties could benefit from a lighting upgrade.

Success in the NHS

A UK NHS trust recently made facility management news as it implemented a comprehensive upgrade to its lighting systems. Undertaking a site-wide LED installation means that the trust will now enjoy savings in excess of £180,000 annually. Provided these savings remain consistent, the project will have paid for itself within six years.

The gains of the forward-thinking trust are not only measured in pounds and pence; the switch to highly efficient LED lighting, whose lifespan is more than quadruple that of its fluorescent counterparts, also means reduced maintenance as well as a significantly diminished carbon footprint.

Capital gives green light for LEDs

Earlier this year, the city of London underwent a large-scale retrofit of over 8,000 traffic signals, regulatory box signs and push buttons. Upgrading these sites to LED lighting is expected to deliver energy and cost savings of 75% for Transport for London.

“It’s making our infrastructure greener, more sustainable and cheaper to run and not only that but as LEDs are more visible it is making our roads safer…”

– Glynn Barton, TfL’s Director of Network Management

This conversion echoes another 2018 retrofit that saw 25,000 London signals at 900 sites upgraded with similar technology.

Hertfordshire County Council is taking this attitude a step further and has pledged to replace all the street lighting in its seat with LED illumination. The project reached its final stage earlier this year and the council expect it to reduce street lighting CO2 emissions by more than half. In material terms, this equates to 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and £5m saved for the residents of Hertfordshire.

The Power of LED

The commercial picture

The benefits of LEDs are not just public sector, businesses can also make significant savings with this technology. Consider that a 20% reduction in energy costs can have the equivalent economic effect of a 5% increase in sales.

The difference with an LED installation is that it is permanent, and not subject to market conditions.

Traditional lighting actually wastes 95% of the energy it uses on the heat it produces. Since it operates at low temperatures, LED lighting reduces this waste by 90%. This also makes LED a much safer option if the lighting is located near human activity.

By effectively removing this heat source, temperature control systems like air conditioning will operate with greater efficiency. As EIC’s TM44 blog demonstrates, this too can equate to significant savings.

Light the halls

While the office Christmas party may be cancelled this year, it’s worth mentioning the seasonal savings potential of LEDs.

Granted, decorative lighting is not a year-round expense, but incandescent bulbs can run up quite a bill, especially for smaller retail businesses.

Fortunately holiday lights are now also available as LEDs, with several benefits included. Aside from the aforementioned savings, LED lighting is much more durable as well. Epoxy is used in place of glass to create their lenses, so they are highly resistant to breakage.

Bulbs last dozens of holiday seasons before needing replacement and low voltage requirements means many can share a single outlet.

EIC’s Lighting Solutions, including complimentary lighting control systems, has helped dozens of organisations. These controls include movement sensors, time clocks and light sensors which can all support an LED upgrade in reducing costs and CO2 footprint.

The EIC service includes initial surveys to establish the unique needs of a site, later formulating a bespoke proposal. Once installation is complete, EIC will also provide supplementary training to teams within an enterprise to ensure the new equipment is used as effectively as possible.

A full breakdown of this service is available by contacting the EIC team here.