Could your organisation benefit from onsite generation?

Access to clean electricity is becoming increasingly important for UK businesses. Onsite generation can provide a source of clean energy, whilst also protecting firms from supply chain disruptions and market changes. We break down the major benefits of generating your own electricity, as well as the advantages it will grant businesses on the road to net zero.

Onsite generation: What do you have to gain?

The immediate boons of onsite generation fall under three categories: energy security, increased flexibility, and a heightened reputation for corporate social responsibility.

Energy security

Energy security can be defined in two ways; the first is the physical security of the resource reaching your business from supply. Fortunately, UK supplies are relatively undisturbed by inclement weather conditions compared with other regions of the world. Despite this, any total loss of energy – no matter how brief – can be costly. This can be avoided by having a safeguard like onsite generation in place.

The second security threat refers more to the commercial landscape than the physical one. Energy wholesale contract prices are subject to change at the best of times. Depending on a variety of factors like peak demand times, supply chain disruption, or, in the case of big oil earlier this year, complete loss of demand.

2018 was a stark example of how sudden and dramatic these price changes can be. In just a six-month period, between March and September, winter electricity contract prices increased by over 40%.

The fact is that the majority of this price hike was due to non-commodity costs like transmission and distribution. These are practically absent when generating onsite, meaning you are less at the mercy of market changes.

Increased flexibility

As with supply security, onsite generation gives you greater control over all aspects of your energy usage. You can scale back your reliance on the grid during high-generation days and, when combined with your own battery storage, even remove your dependence on the grid completely. In a way this gives you the best of both worlds. It removes your attachment to swings in the market but allows you to use the grid as a safety net for low-generation periods.

UK manufacturing has already seen huge gains by combining generation and battery storage technology. A 2018 report from CBS indicated that this sector alone could save over £500m annually by adopting such systems.

Installing your own generation equipment also makes it easier to scale and budget your energy needs as your business grows. Moreover, it improves the value of your business real estate by turning passive roof space into an asset.

Improve your green reputation

Corporate social responsibility is climbing the priorities list of commercial businesses. Onsite energy generation is an excellent way to demonstrate your commitment to reducing your carbon footprint. It also shows your allegiance with a growing section of the energy industry – one that will be centre stage for the global fight against climate change.

Additionally, most UK firms will be required to uphold TCFD standards of reporting the potential risks climate change poses to their functionality. Potential investors will feel confident knowing that you are not only bolstering your own energy supply but actively reducing your contribution to climate change.

Finally, your customers will thank you and new customers will seek you out for reflecting their values. Research conducted in 2020 showed that out of 10,000 global respondents, 50% say they only buy products from brands that ‘try to be eco-friendly’.

Beginning onsite generation and other considerations

At EIC, we provide guidance on the installation and integration of onsite generation into your business model. We recognise the value of such technologies in isolation. However, we also believe that parallel technology working in tandem can release even greater returns for you.

As such, alongside battery storage and onsite generation options we also offer intelligent energy management services. After all, it would be a shame to make savings from your own energy generation and then lose them to inefficiency. To find out more about these services and how they can work for you, get in touch.

Alone, together: Mental health during lockdown

EIC looks back on the recent Mental Health Awareness Week UK, this year’s theme of kindness and some of the stories of kindness that have emerged from the energy sector since lockdown began.

Kindness to all

The theme of kindness could not have been more appropriate for this year’s Mental Health Week UK, with so many struggling under the emotional, financial and medical burdens of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown.

Indeed, kindness, solidarity and generosity are things that have been in great demand as a result of the widespread concerns wrought by coronavirus. Despite the added pressure felt simultaneously by the commercial energy sector, it’s proponents have responded with a magnanimity seldom anticipated by their customers.

Orsted

Danish renewables supplier, Orsted, has promised more than £165,000 to various health and charity organisations across the UK to help support them through the crisis, beneficiaries include Guy and St. Thomas’ Hospital and Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Duncan Clark, the supplier’s UK region head, impressed the importance of solidarity between companies and their customers:

“Across the UK, the current situation is having a profound effect on families and communities.. It is at times like these that we must come together to do what we can to support each other.”

Duncan Clark, Orsted

British gas  

Big six supplier British Gas stated their allegiance to customer welfare early on in the lockdown by announcing that vulnerable customers would be issued with 2 weeks of discretionary credit for electricity. The support will be pre-loaded onto keys or cards while gas customers will receive £5 credit, British Gas is also offering a remote version of the same service for those customers with smart meters.

Emergency measures 

Emergency credit limit for gas and electricity has been extended across the board by many major suppliers in the UK,  with E.ON raising the limit tenfold from £5 to £50 and nPower raising emergency credit limits from £7 to £45. 

Hands across the oceans

The trend of solidarity hasn’t stopped in the UK, energy companies across Europe are taking up the cause of customer support during the challenges of COVID-19. Italy was infamous for being one of the worst affected European countries and taken as an omen to be heeded by other EU states, domestic energy giant ENEL has answered with vigour. The supplier has donated €23m to support Italian healthcare professionals by funding hospitals, beds and machinery and president Patrizia Grieco framed this move as an act of duty from ENEL.  

“We are an Italian multinational with strong ties with the territory. It’s natural but also a duty to aid the territories where we operate and the communities we work with every day.”

Meanwhile in France, multinational ENGIE, has also contributed to Italy’s fight against the virus by providing free electricity and technical assistance on the construction of new medical units. 

 

 

A kinder world

The primary beneficiary of the lockdown measures however, might be an unexpected one, with the slowing of economic activity and the subsequent drop in emissions, the planet is receiving a long overdue dose of kindness from our entire species.

COVID-19 may have given us an opportunity to reflect on our current practices as well as a vision of what the world could look like with better, greener behaviour from us. 

EIC are champions of sustainable business practices through an end-to-end approach that can support you from initial procurement of your utilities, through to maximising their efficiency with IoT in order to faster deliver a sustainable commercial culture.

The strides EIC is taking to help the UK build a green commercial sector and reach climate targets are myriad and you can find out how to engage with them on our website.

Here comes the Sun

EIC explores the benefits and future of on-site solar generation for businesses, how COVID-19 has highlighted and bolstered the strengths of solar power and how EIC can help businesses engage with the technology.

The wild blue yonder

Lockdown, while effective, has been a source of ongoing financial and emotional strain for many in the UK and businesses are no exception. However, there have been a number of benefits to this economic slowing that perhaps are going overlooked.

Chiefly, air pollution, in proportion with industrial energy demand, has dropped significantly. Combined with the severe oversupply of Oil and faltering resilience of fossil fuels generally, this has given solar generation the opportunity to enjoy a moment in the sun. 

However, solar is not a recent arrival to the energy scene, existing theoretically since at least 1839 thanks to French scientist Edmund Bacquerel. Bacquerel’s work was groundbreaking because it was the first time that solid material with no moving parts had been used to convert sunlight directly into electrical energy.

A guiding light

Since 1839, we’ve come a long way and furthest perhaps in the last five years, during which time the costs of solar have halved while storage options have improved consistently with the introduction of graphene and vanadium technology.

The conditions of lockdown have demonstrated that renewable energy sources are likely to be the most resilient to the supply chain disruptions that a major crisis can create. 

In fact, EU solar generation jumped by 28% year-on-year, between March 28th and April 26th of this year compared to 2019, breaking generation records while doing so. 

Energy security is a basic necessity for the survival of any business and, as such, will be a subject of great scrutiny throughout lockdown and in its aftermath. Novel technologies like on-site generation will become more attractive, not only for their resilience but for the savings that their flexibility offers. 

The use of on-site photovoltaics can also improve a company’s carbon profile while providing a measure of protection against supply failure. 

EIC manages around 12TWH each year and with over 40 years industry experience, we are able to create bespoke energy solutions for your needs. We can help you engage with on-site generation, saving you as much as 20% on your energy usage or 40% when combined with on-site battery storage. Better still, in times of plenty, you’ll be able to sell excess energy back to the grid and further offset energy costs. 

Our solutions page contains full details of our on-site generation and storage offerings, as well as further information on the compliance service we provide that can be bolstered by such technology.