Smarter energy management: A step towards peak efficiency

12 July 2017

Alongside significant cost savings, rethinking energy usage could unlock value from existing on-site assets, creating a new revenue stream for your business, as Ashley Phillips, sales and marketing director, DONG Energy Sales (UK), explains

In the world of manufacturing, operational costs are a perpetual consideration and the need for cost-control is a steep mountain that must be continually climbed. Energy is both a vital resource and a major contributor to operational costs, so a failure to capitalise on efficiency measures or optimise consumption can frustrate efforts to reach peak operational efficiency. Fortunately, the benefits of smarter energy management can be more easily accessed – and have more of a financial impact than many businesses realise.

Energy management software

Harmonising your production schedule and your energy efficiency goals is the first step to large-scale cost savings which could impact your bottom line. However, plant scheduling is a time-consuming activity. There are the competing factors of production targets and equipment parameters to consider; add energy time-of-use and peak-time avoidance to this and suddenly the data handling, and complex calculations required, create a sizeable daily resource burden. The solution, of course, is software – and the options available across the marketplace are wide ranging. For manufacturing businesses gradually making the shift to digital with their equipment and processes, or taking other first steps towards the data driven, hyper-connected, brave new world that is Industry 4.0, energy management software might not be the most immediate consideration. However, to overlook it would be to miss an opportunity. 

We’ve developed our own software solution for DONG Energy customers: Site Optimisation. It’s a cloud based solution that uses algorithms to analyse information from the energy market and interpret it in line with on-site operational constraints and asset availability. Recently, it helped Kodak Alaris save 11% on its energy costs, as well as slashing daily planning time at its manufacturing site. With minimum upfront investment and practical, easy to implement output, Kodak Alaris described its decision to use Site Optimisation as a ‘no brainer’ for the business.

Creating new value from your assets

As the UK energy system evolves and our reliance on traditional, limited energy sources reduces, manufacturers have an important role to play. No longer merely consumers, businesses who take a more flexible approach to energy are helping to ensure our infrastructure remains secure, cost effective and sustainable for the future. From a commercial perspective, there are also several good reasons why your business should get on board and embrace flexibility, whether that be through a Demand Side Response (DSR) scheme offered by National Grid or other solution providers. First and foremost, the valuable service you provide will be rewarded with new revenue, allowing you to mitigate costs and glean maximum value from existing assets. Long term, this will of course also benefit everyone by supporting the growth of renewable energy and helping our nation move towards a better, greener energy future. 

Green energy future

Advancing sustainable energy is at the heart of everything we do here at DONG Energy. It’s why we introduced our premium-free renewable electricity, and the reason we wanted to help more businesses overcome obstacles to flexible energy management. We created a product called Renewable Balancing Reserve to help our customers get on board. Unlike some DSR schemes, it’s commitment and penalty free – allowing users to set their desired price and the times at which they want to take part. The scheme enables businesses to access revenue from the electricity imbalance market, often acting as a complementary activity, along with DSR.

Whatever your business, smarter energy management could be one way of improving operational efficiency and reducing costs. Along the way, you’ll be helping to ensure the success of our sustainable energy future – an essential component of our successful manufacturing future here in the UK.