Open Energy Market: Top 10 trends for 2019
1. Energy Management
The demand for greater and immediate insight into energy use is set to continue, as the increasing convergence of data proves its worth to a greater number of commercial energy users. Manufacturing and industrial sectors, the traditional leaders of energy management, will find themselves joined by diverse industries as new standards are set for reporting and management.
With cybersecurity becoming an ever-more familiar part of everyday life, anxiety will grow and diversity as corporations evaluate their risk alongside threats to suppliers and networks. Growing familiarity is likely to move discussions increasingly from technology to management and bring a greater understanding of the types of attacks that can disrupt service on multiple levels, from data security to infrastructure.
No surprise that instability in global affairs will continue to impact the world energy complex after 2018 saw oil markets reach four-year highs and the S&P 500 index continue its longest ever rally. The heightened complexity of the geopolitical climate in recent years will be on the mind of many commentators heading into 2019, a year that will include the culmination of Brexit and the third year of Donald Trump’s presidency.
4. Increased Compliance
Compliance will be high in the minds of UK companies heading into 2019, as a number of mandatory schemes bed in or reach deadline.
- There will be a rush of companies seeking best practice in line with the deadline for Phase 2 of the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme on 5 December 2019.
- Three years on from the announcement of its closure, the final Carbon Reduction Commitment allowances will be surrendered in October 2019. Building on the same framework, streamlined energy and carbon reporting regulations (SECR) will replace CRC in 2019 affecting around 12,000 companies in the UK, 8,000 more than were required to comply with CRC.
- As the first anniversary of minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES) comes around in April, the requirement for energy performance certificates (EPC) for all non-exempt sold or let commercial buildings is likely to become a more prominent issue throughout 2019.
5. Open Energy
There is great potential for the energy sector to follow the lead of the banking sector and introduce reforms that radically decrease its complexity. A recent report by the Federation of Small Businesses illustrated how the Open Energy discussion is currently centred on SME and consumer markets. 2019 should see this discussion open up to the more archaic and larger commercial users. However, data and standardised exchange mechanisms to real change and it’s likely that a shift in regulation and legislation will come first to power the change.
6. Diversification of Energy Technology
The deployment of technology to assist with energy procurement and management will increase in companies of all sizes, as consumer-level innovations factor into the commercial sector. As it does, the conversation around it will become more sophisticated. Offerings including integrated platforms, technology or service as a service will continue to offer different benefits to businesses although clearer routes to convergence and a Smart future will emerge.
7. Increasing emergence of Demand Response
2019 is likely to see the rapid expansion of Demand Side Response as incentivisation reaches smaller companies and the technology surrounding it develops a new level of automation. The potential to save energy, cut carbon emissions, and provide a company with recurring revenue as they reduce demand during low-frequency events and allow access to their generated assets during peak times will be transformative for the energy complex.
8. Renewable energy consolidating CSR
As the last of the Millennial generation near 20, the need for companies to place CSR at the heart of their culture will become ever more essential. Sustainability will become the core goal for many businesses, vital to attract and retain stakeholders at every level of a business, with energy use and efficiency at the heart of it. The upward trend of consumers preferring sustainable products and causes will become standardised as Millennials take the majority of management positions.
9. Energy storage
The technology and understanding of energy storage will continue to develop as the technology becomes more viable and attractive for smaller businesses. The routes to energy, particularly through renewable means, will diversify and will receive a far greater level of media attention. Energy storage will become the stable basis for the majority of new energy technologies from now on.
It’s a term that’s unlikely to leave the energy industry anytime soon. Over a year after Europe’s first blockchain project designed to stabilise the power grid, 2019 will see the discussion over blockchain technology’s role in the energy network alive and well. The question is whether 2019 is the year that Blockchain can tip from theory to positive disruption, while considerable expectation remains, and how the energy sector can successfully decentralise at the same time as vastly improving transactional quality.
Chris Maclean is the CEO and co-Founder of Open Energy Market
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.