Meeting the challenges of energy procurement head on

COVID-19 has brought so much uncertainty to the world as people wonder what their future prospects may be, personally or professionally.

The energy market has certainly not been immune to this either, with plummeting oil prices amidst a major downturn in business energy consumption being reflected in historically low business energy costs.

And renewable energy projects and EV installations, which were set for a boom year in 2020, have been held back, especially in the initial stages of the pandemic, because of a disrupted supply chain.

With so many factors to consider – political posturing can also be thrown into the mix – understanding the market and the mechanisms that may trigger wild fluctuations in the price of electricity and gas is vital to successful energy procurement negotiations.

Even for the most trained eye, unprecedented times like these can be extremely challenging for brokers in advising clients on when to sign on the dotted line with energy suppliers, and the length of contract most preferable for their needs.

A good level of market intelligence – through experience and software such as EM-Powered, the energy management portal – is vital in procuring energy at the right price and at the right time.

Minimising those energy costs through smart energy procurement – and taking the hassle away from clients – is at the heart of what we do.

With over two decades’ worth of experience, Energy Management explores the range of options available to their clients, from a fixed-price, longer-term arrangement that allows for greater security, planning and budgeting to a more flexible approach, where advantages can be derived from fluctuations in energy pricing.

Our consultants are experts at knowing which way ‘the wind is blowing’, so why not give them a call, on 01225-867722 or email:sales@energymanagementltd.com

 

An energy framework designed to tackle the climate change emergency

The climate change emergency was at the front and centre of the news agenda before Covid-19, and even while we are still in the grip of the pandemic, it is an issue that has rightfully refused to go away.

We have found that in our discussions with clients and potential new customers that the drive towards a carbon-neutral position – by 2050, or even 2030 in some cases – is still a key focus.

Figures released by BloombergNEF showed how purchasing green energy contracts rose by 40% on the previous year in 2019, reaching almost 20 gigawatts (GW), and that appetite for change is still there if our experience is anything to go by.

Our Choice Energy Framework is proving to be a popular option for those public sector organisations looking to not only save money in their energy procurement but also be more ethical in the way they power their facilities.

There has been tremendous interest in securing green energy contracts – ones that use wind and solar energy, for example – as opposed to traditional brown energy that relies on fossil fuel power generation.

The Choice Energy Framework involves up to six energy suppliers who have been shortlisted on the basis of tariff competitiveness, billing accuracy, max/min volume threshold restrictions and terms and conditions.

Fixed and flexible contracts will be offered by the suppliers with the length of the contract varying from 12 months to as long as four years.

If you would like to find out more, please contact one of our team on 01225-867722

Championing energy efficiency

As more and more white-collar employees gradually switch back to working in an office environment, now is a good time for businesses to ensure any energy efficiency good practices picked up whilst working from home come with them.

Most money-conscious, employees wouldn’t leave lights on unnecessarily or not properly shutdown their electrical devices whilst working from at home, and these type of behaviours should be present in the office environment, too.

You could even employ an ‘energy champion’ from within the workforce to take on the responsibility of engaging their colleagues in energy-saving measures in a bid to reduce the company’s energy bill.

Some simple measures such as the installation of movement sensitive lighting and LED lightbulbs can help massively in reducing the energy bill, too, without too much initial financial outlay.

Alternatively, you could turn to an external energy agency to conduct an energy audit and determine how you can use less power without compromising business throughput, output or thermal comfort and wellbeing of staff. An Energy Management health check workshop will cost you nothing but could save you thousands of pounds.

A Senior Energy Management certified assessor will visit your organisation and present his/her ideas over the course of a morning or afternoon with the aim of highlighting energy efficiency projects that can be easily implemented with little or no capital expenditure.

If you would like to discuss any energy efficiency measures, please get in touch with a member of our team on 01225-867722.

Switching energy suppliers – what you need to know

Energy is often a business’ biggest running cost after wages. That is why it is crucial to ensure you are not paying over the odds for powering your office, factory or warehouse, particularly if you prefer the security of a fixed-term contract over a more flexible arrangement.

Many energy contracts simply rollover once the current term expires, and this can lead to a business paying more per unit for their gas and electricity than they need to.

With the market as volatile as it is right now, switching energy providers can be in your best interests. Normally, your energy supplier – whether it is one of the so-called ‘Big 6’ or one of the smaller operators – will contact you up to six months before your contract enters its renewal window.

Armed with the facts

At this time, it is important to have all the right information to hand and to understand how, when and where you are consuming the most energy, especially if you operate over multiple sites, as this could impact on how much you eventually pay.

Switching energy suppliers can take anything between four to six weeks but without any disruption to your current supply.

Many businesses, particularly at times of great stress, either don’t have the resources to handle this energy procurement process or do not have the expertise to shine a light on unfavourable terms and conditions which may hit the business financially in the long run.

If you consider yourself to be in such a situation, we’d be more than happy to assist you in getting the right deal at the right time and for the right duration.

UK set for another coal-free energy record

When the clock strikes midnight on Wednesday, Britain will have gone a record two months without coal-fired power generation.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a reduction in energy use throughout the business world but the lack of demand for energy only partly explains the trend.

The increased affordability and availability of renewables is a major reason why fossil fuels have fallen out of favour as the U.K. strives to meet its net-zero carbon commitments.

Once the backbone of the National Grid with up to 40 per cent of electricity generated from this source a decade ago, coal has made way to solar and wind.

In the case of Drax Power Station, coal has been ceded for wood pellets.

“We here at Drax decided that coal was no longer the future,” Will Gardiner, the chief executive of the power group, told the BBC.

“It has been a massive undertaking and then the result of all that is we’ve reduced our CO2 emissions from more than 20 million tonnes a year to almost zero.”

The last coal generator came off the system at midnight on 9 April. No coal has been burnt for electricity since.

The previous record coal-free period was  18 days, 6 hours and 10 minutes which was set in June last year.

 

Renewed focus for green energy procurement

As the UK strives towards a zero-carbon future, green energy procurement has become a key focus for such minded companies.

Switching away from fossil fuels to renewables has become much more straightforward given the increase in the range of options available, such as solar and wind turbine generation, and the growing affordability of the energy such methods produce.

Today, renewables produce more than 20% of the UK’s electricity, and that figure is forecast to rise to 30% by 2030, especially with the largest solar farm of its kind to be built shortly in Kent.

Organisations are now aligning their energy strategy to reflect the shifting trend, with increased investment in renewables gathering momentum.

Supporting sustainability

As one of the UK’s leading consultancies, Energy Management LLP recognises this and has devised a Green Energy Framework (GEF), which is designed to support public sector bodies in their commitment to a more sustainable future.

Incorporated within the over-arching framework agreement is a desktop audit of current energy efficiency schemes and analysis of half-hourly (HH) energy consumption data.

Once these initial steps are taken, a site survey is then conducted by one of our chartered engineers, and based on their findings, a detailed action plan highlighting areas of improvement will be discussed with clients.

At Energy Management, we are committed to helping clients for the whole duration of their journey towards net-zero carbon, and ongoing support is available through accountable auditing.

The Green Energy Framework follows on from the successful launch of the Choice Energy Framework, another of Energy Management’s initiatives that allow public sector bodies to access the best energy solutions.