The Energy Brokers hosts energy DSM workshop at popular manufacturing show

‘Future energy costs: balancing the supply/demand equation’

TEBL Commercial Director David Peake and Protect Specialist Paul Gleaves will present a special energy workshop at the Manufacturing Management Show in Coventry’s Ricoh Arena, 22-23rd November 2017.

“Energy is a big cost for so many manufacturers,” says Peake, “and the non-energy element is set to rise by more than 40% in the next five years. If businesses fail to act, the increase could be even greater. Our workshop explains some of the ways manufacturers can deal with this situation, primarily through effective strategies for Demand Side Management.” Last year’s show attracted more than 1,000 industry leaders, featured 50+ exhibitors and offered a keynote conference programme alongside 27 hands-on sessions. The two-day workshop programme, presented in two theatres, covers a range of advice and inspiration for manufacturing professionals.

A ‘rude awakening’ for manufacturers?

‘Electricity prices are forecast to dip in 2018 due to increased generation, although an increase in demand and third party charges is projected to support prices from 2019 onward… Gas prices are forecast to incrementally rise until 2022.’

“We’ll provide attendees with forecasts of energy costs, such as Total Energy/Non-Energy Cost Projections for the Industrial Sector 2012-2022, and explain what makes up UK energy charges,” Peake adds. “With third party charges playing an increasingly significant role, the cost of the commodity itself is actually falling, from 60% of the total electricity bill in 2013 to around 35% by 2022. We’ll highlight the risks of doing nothing, look at the UK’s future generation mix, and explore options to mitigate these costs.” This includes practical energy and cost reduction strategies, notably Demand Side Management (DSM) “that can actually enable manufacturers to generate revenue while reducing consumption.”

The workshop draws on data and commentary in a recent paper by Matthew Hopkins and Stephen Atkins of TEBL, UK Energy Market Outlook 2017: Challenges & Opportunities. This concludes that Demand Side Management is of growing importance, “as balancing the grid becomes more burdensome. A variety of timed response options and volume management schemes are available… leading to opportunities for reduced energy costs and payments for their involvement.”

The Energy Brokers will be exhibiting on stand C19 at the show. For more information or to arrange a meeting with one of our Energy or Water Consultants at the show, please email

UK will have enough energy to meet demands

The ex-boss of National Grid, Steve Holliday, has said that no one should fear electricity blackouts as the UK has enough energy capacity to meet the UK’s needs – even on really cold days when demand is high. His upbeat statement is based on the government’s latest auction of capacity for power generation, happening this week. Companies will bid for subsidies to provide back-up power when required. Their stand-by plants will run for just a few days a year when there are extreme conditions. A lot of this back-up will be provided by old gas and coal plants that might otherwise be ditched. Funded by the bill-payer, they offer a power insurance policy of sorts.

Steve told BBC News: “It’s time for the headline of Blackout Britain to end – it’s simply wrong. We’ve been talking about blackouts for 15 years every time it gets cold, but it’s a scare story. The lights haven’t gone out yet and thanks to the measures the government is putting in place this week they definitely won’t go out in future. The UK has one of the most stable supplies of electricity in Europe.”

The head of the Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG), which represents companies that use a lot of energy, Jeremy Nicholson, has voiced fears before about energy security but says the capacity auctions will secure supplies. He said: “The power industry makes a lot of noise about tight generating margins but somehow manages to provide plenty of capacity when it’s needed. The capacity issue is sorted now – frankly it should have happened 5-10 years ago. Our bigger concern now is the possibility that when margins are tight, the price will shoot through the roof.”

Energy UK is also confident about supply, saying: “We support the Capacity Market and we believe it will keep the lights on in Great Britain.”

Capacity auctions were originally introduced so that back-up supply was available from 2018, but the scheme was brought forward. Bidders who are successful will receive payments for keeping power stations available between November and February, even if they are not generating. Coal, gas and nuclear stations are able to bid for the payment, as well as demand reduction suppliers and interconnectors. Then the National Grid will juggle what’s needed when. A government spokesman said securing capacity to back up intermittent forms of energy like solar and wind might cost about £7 per year per household initially, reducing to £2 over the longer term. He said power shortages resulting in price surges would be much more costly. Generating margins were forecast to be tight for this winter, but there has been no problem, despite a long cold windless spell during which wind energy has produced around 1% of electricity demand. The highest daily percentage of wind power was over 20%.

Source: BBC

What will the energy sources for your business look like in 2026?

electric_carThe news arrived this week that the UK government is set to miss an EU-mandated target to generate 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

And although Britain is no longer a part of the EU, the target is legally-binding according to the Climate Change Act.

The evidence was put forward this week in a report by the Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) of MPs, following on from a similar statement from the National Grid during the summer.

National Grid predicted a best-case scenario of 2022 being the earliest date of achieving the EU target, and a worse-case scenario of 2029. Ominous news when you consider that the 2020 target is all part of a bigger picture aiming at emission cuts of 80 per cent by 2050.

This leaves the question of how the government will develop its energy policy in order to meet the incremental targets along the way. Will there be a greater push on electric and hydrogen cars? Is biomass a viable option for large-scale energy? Should there be a greater focus on electric heat pumps?

While technology has been developing rapidly on a consumer level over the past ten or fifteen years – think the difference between the Nokia 3210 when compared with the HD camera, heartrate monitoring smart phones of today – these innovations are also vital on a macro, governmental level.

Listed below are a number of energy changes that could affect you and your business as policy develops to meet the target of generating 15 per cent of its energy from renewables.

The year in which the UK reaches its energy target remains unclear, however, here is what your energy usage could look like in ten years’ time as the clock ticks on its EU targe

Transport: Petrol, diesel or electric?

In 2026 you could well find yourself driving in to work using an electric car. In fact, according to experts, it is more likely than not that you will be doing just that, with electric car sales set to surpass gas-powered car sales.

In order to meet the Climate Change Act targets, it in the government’s interest to provide tax breaks and incentives to businesses that use electric vehicles. Something to pay attention to in the coming years if your business involves transportation.

Solar energy

Does your company have solar panels? In ten years’ time there is every chance that it will.

According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) solar energy will be more economical than fossil fuels as we enter the 2020s. Furthermore, the pricing of solar is becoming more affordable with opportunities to earn money back by pumping excess electricity into the grid.

The caveat should be added that this also requires the solar industry to continue its rapid improvement of cell efficiency and the implementation of economies of scale

Biomass and food waste energy

Businesses are already using food and biological waste as a form of energy. Earlier in the year Sainsbury’s announced that ten per cent of its annual consumption comes from its own food waste as they partnered up with food waste recycler ReFood.

This partnership has produced nearly 50 million kWk of biomethane gas – enough to continuously power 5,000 homes for a year.

ReFood’s other clients include Doncaster Racecourse, Q Hotels and Lidl. If your company is involved in the food industry, partnering up with a food waste company could be viable option.

These are just three ways the energy sources you use in 2026 could look drastically different. Are you interested in learning more about how you can optimise the energy use of your business? Speak to one of our experts on how best manage your energy and utilities.

Source: Saul Bush – One

What is district heating and why do you need to know about it?

copenhagen_district_heatingWith a new district heating project under way in Fife and further major investment in Scotland on the horizon, it is an important time to ask the question: what is district heating and why do you need to know about it?

While district heating is nothing new, gaining prominence in the UK after World War II, the importance of it has grown as issues of peak oil and sustainable energy sources become ever more important.

In brief, district heating is the process of supplying space heating and domestic hot water to a large number of buildings – be it homes or government and commercial properties – from a central source. In other words, rather than having 100 homes with 100 heat sources, district heating can allow the use of one heating source for all 100 homes.

The mechanism of providing this heating from one central energy source to a large number of properties (the largest district heating system in Copenhagen supplies 275,000 households) involves a network of insulated pipes from the point of generation to an end user.

The heat supplied can come in various energy forms including:

  • Power stations
  • Energy from waste (EfW) facilities
  • Industrial processes
  • Biomass and biogas fuelled boilers
  • Gas-fired CHP unites
  • Fuel cells
  • Heat pumps
  • Geothermal sources
  • Electric boilers
  • Solar thermal arrays

Scandinavia are leading the way when it comes to district heating with between 50 and 60 per cent of its heating coming from a centralised source. This foresight to implement an efficient, sophisticated heating system, however, may have come more from necessity, rather than perspicacity. Scandinavia has few natural resources such as coal and oil and was greatly affected by the oil crisis of the seventies.

Therefore, the geography of Scandinavia determined the need to be proactive about its energy source and usage, and the region is now widely regarded as a world leader in sustainability.

In the UK, Scotland is leading the way in terms of generating energy from district heating. It is a key component of the Scottish Government’s approach to meeting its climate change targets and securing a low carbon economy in Scotland.

Since 2011 the country has implemented its District Heating Loan fund which has provided £10million in low-interest loans. This money has helped save 220,000 tonnes of lifetime CO2 and supplied heat to over 700 homes.

And now a potential new district heating network is being developed in Fife as part of the Glenrothes Heat project which will look to use heat from a nearby RWE Markinch Biomass CHP plant, which is 90% fuelled by waste wood.

So what plans are in the insulated pipelines for the rest of the UK? The British government is trying to increase the number of households connected to district heating networks, while the Greater London Authority is aiming for 25 per cent of its energy supply to come from a centralised source in 2025.

Other cities such as Sheffield, Nottingham and Bristol are also investing in district heating with Bristol developing the local city centre enterprise zone to entice potential businesses with guarantees of lower heating bills.

So while the UK is not on a par with Scandinavia or other European countries like Germany just yet, the imperative that was laid down to Scandinavia in the seventies is now upon us. Sometimes it takes extreme circumstances to bring about improvement. And improvement in the energy supply of our heating is certainly on the horizon.

Source: Saul Bush – One

National Grid cancel emergency power reserve tender

Power grid operator National grid has canceled an emergency power reserve tender due to a lack of willing participants in the scheme. The tender proposed that companies would be paid not to use electricity during peak times this coming winter with the goal of directing power towards households.

The Demand Side Balancing Reserve (DSBR) scheme has been introduced to handle tighter winter power supply margins after weaker electricity prices resulted in the closure of a number of power plants in recent years. The issue has been compounded by harsher environmental regulation that will see the UK completely phase out coal-fired power generation in the UK by 2025. The DSBR is a number of measures that National Grid utilises to manage times of emergency and invited large users of electricity such as hospitals and factories to voluntarily reduce their power consumption during winter evenings.

In a letter to industry on 22 August, National Grid stated that is would not be procuring DSBR for the winter of 2016/17. It is instead likely to procure extra generation from a separate initiative that compensates power plants to remain on standby in case of higher demand.

Source: Reuters