As we move towards a low carbon economy, there will be fundamental shifts in the way that we all use electricity. This presents opportunities for businesses that move quickly to reduce costs and gain competitive advantage…but it’s about thinking laterally.
In the first of a series of articles Richard Jones, Managing Director of EV Camel and of Amelio Solar Energy, explores some of the challenges and opportunities that will face business and also in our wider lives outside work. He will also bust some common myths and misunderstandings as our pattern of energy usage changes.
For example, there is commonly thought to be a very limited supply of electricity in the UK, often alongside particular concerns around the move to electric cars. However whilst we may have an electricity grid that is creaking at the seams in part, the National Grid seems quite comfortable that overall we produce enough electricity – the issue is really sorting out the peaks and troughs of contracted demand and actual demand. Smoothing demand curves will enable us all to make better and more efficient use of electricity.
So what does the future hold for businesses?
There are opportunities to reduce bills through the use of Solar PV – as an example, a food producer paying £10,000 a month for electricity was found to be able to reduce electricity demand by up to 30% by investing in Solar PV – a significant reduction on business overheads.
Other opportunities lie in more flexible tariffs – businesses that can shift electricity usage to off-peak times could pay substantially less and in industries where margins are tight, innovative ways of doing this could prove pivotal to profitability. Careful advice on such tariffs from experts such as FlameUK will be important in this respect.
Costs of electricity will rise, particularly at peak times and so the incentives to be more flexible as to times of electricity use will become increasingly important.
The Internet of Things (IoT) will assist with managing loads and intelligently shifting and managing demand peaks. We are moving towards everything being ‘smart’…not just our phones but charging for our cars, our kettles and fridges.
Battery storage will also become more viable and important at both a grid and behind the meter level.
On the day that the Department for Transport produced its strategy towards the decarbonisation of the transport, it’s clear that vehicle manufacturers are rapidly moving into the delivery phase of the transition to electric vehicles. In the UK, the company car tax regime will change from 1st April 2020 and many commentators see this as a pivotal moment in the transition process. There will be challenges and opportunities as a result of this – the locations where we rest ourselves and refuel our vehicles will surely change and the British entrepreneurial spirit will create new possibilities with this.
Overall, the shape of electricity usage is set for a major step-change in the coming years and as ever the opportunities for businesses that are fleet of foot will be there for the taking.
For more information on the topics covered in this and subsequent articles please contact your usual contact at FlameUK.
Watch out for a more in-depth analysis of one of these issues from Richard Jones next time…
© R D H Jones; Amelio Solar Energy; EV Camel; 16.10.19