Ambitious net-zero emissions target on the menu for Food and Drink sector

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF), which represents more than 300 companies, would like the energy-intensive sector to reach net-zero emissions by 2040.

To help them shave 10 years off the national target, the FDF is in discussions with stakeholders and members across the entire food and drink supply chain in order to identify the steps needed to be taken.

There will be a focus on the type of ingredients, packaging, types of distribution and storage as well as customer behaviour with a net-zero guide made available to businesses in November.

Championing net-zero

The FDF’s head of climate change and energy policy, Emma Piercy, said: “We are delighted to announce the FDF’s Net-Zero by 2040 ambition. Leading the sectors’ progress in decarbonisation requires essential collaboration across the supply chain, and together we are driving the delivery of Net Zero food and drink products on supermarket shelves by 2040.

“In food and drink manufacturing, the programme of support provided by Government and industry associations are key drivers to building momentum on Net-Zero. We thank Andrew Griffith MP in his role as Net Zero Business Champion on driving this forward and his work on the SME Climate Hub.”

The overwhelming majority of the sector’s carbon emissions are currently attributable to national gas (97 per cent), with the remainder down to electricity.

Of the natural gas sourced by the sector in the eight-year period between 2012 and 2020, 80 per cent was used in boilers and direct-fired ovens.

Strong progress

The net-zero ambition comes on the back of strong progress in the sector to date. Carbon emissions have already been cut by 55 per cent since 1990, surpassing a target set for 2025.

The Government’s Net Zero Business Champion, Andrew Griffith MP, said: “I welcome the ambitious steps being taken by the Food and Drink Federation in launching their 2021 work programme on Net Zero and the commitment to being net-zero by 2040. This pioneering target in such an important sector of the economy will strengthen the UK’s position as a global climate leader in this year of COP26.”

EV sales motor as the UK leaves France in its slipstream

The UK has caught up and overtaken France in EV car sales in the first quarter of the year, a report in The Guardian has revealed.

Demand for cars with zero exhaust emissions resulted in 31,800 battery-electric cars being sold in the UK, from January to March inclusive, outstripping sales on the other side of the channel by 1,300.

Battery EVs accounted for 7.5% of UK sales in that timeframe, according to industry data, almost doubling the market share compared with the same period in 2020.

However, the UK still lags some way behind number one ranked Germany who sold over double the number (64,700) in the first three months of the year, thanks to generous subsidies.

The UK market share is also disproportionate to that enjoyed in Norway, the first European country to sell more battery-operated EVs than diesel or petrol cars in 2020.

While all the signs point to British consumers closing the gap through a steady increase in sales, drivers still have very real concerns about whether the charging infrastructure is robust enough to support this surge in demand.

With more employees, customers and visitors switching to battery-operated EVs as more affordable, attractive models enter the car market, there is an increasing need for companies to install charge points in their offices, factories and facilities to meet the demand.

Energy Management have expert knowledge in this sector and are already supporting a nationwide roll-out of EV charging installations.

To find out more, please visit our dedicated EV charging infrastructure webpage >>

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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 shut down their electrical devices whilst working from 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.

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

EV infrastructure scores low in consumer survey

A survey into charging infrastructure in England, conducted by the Electric Vehicle Association (EVA) England, has come out with a customer satisfaction rating of just 2.16 out of 5.

Over 1,000 EV users were asked for their thoughts and the results show there is still plenty of room for improvement, especially with 92 per cent of those polled relying on the public charging network to power their vehicles.

Based on the feedback, the EVA England has made a number of recommendations to government that they feel would improve the EV roadmap, including standardised signage and payment options and a universal pricing policy of pence/kWh.

Chargepoint charter

Whilst acknowledging that the charging infrastructure has improved greatly in recent times, Gill Nowell, an EVA England Director, believes that more needs to be done to support the year-on-year growth in EV sales.

Nowell said: “There are many benefits of making the electric switch, from the pleasure of driving to improving local air quality. With automotive manufacturers, fleets and businesses all now choosing to go electric, we need to improve the consumer experience at public chargepoints to take EV adoption mainstream.

“Based on the outputs of this survey, paving the road for the mass adoption of EVs looks like contactless card payments, roaming, consistent chargepoint reliability, simplified billing, and easy access to information about what chargers are where.

“We recognise that the pace of chargepoint deployment is increasing and that the infrastructure going in the ground today is greatly improved from that which was being installed even five years ago. However, we encourage Government to intervene now in order to ensure that all charging infrastructure is reliable, safe and user-friendly, across all driver groups.”

Thirty-Party Costs Focus: Contracts for Difference Feed-in-Tariff (CfD FiT)

The Contracts for Difference Feed-in-Tariff is a scheme to help the UK meet its net zero targets and ensure an interrupted supply of electricity feeds into the network.

It has replaced the Renewables Obligation as a reward to suppliers who generate low-carbon electricity.

Renewable generators are awarded contracts where a strike price is agreed. If the strike price is less than the wholesale price then a top-up payment is made. If the market price is higher than the “strike price”, suppliers receive a payment

CfD costs will vary annually due to wholesale price fluctuations and the amount of CfD generation produced each year. They are met by a levy applied to energy suppliers, which are then passed on to their customers, as a Third-Party Cost..

Global renewable energy capacity enjoys record year in 2020

Global renewable energy capacity additions in 2020 beat all previous records despite the economic slowdown that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data released today by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), more than 260 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity were added last year, exceeding expansion in 2019 by close to 50 per cent.

IRENA’s annual Renewable Capacity Statistics 2021 shows that renewable energy’s share of all new generating capacity rose considerably for the second year in a row. More than 80 per cent of all new electricity capacity added last year was renewable, with solar and wind accounting for 91 per cent of new renewables.

A future away from fossil fuels

Renewables’ rising share of the total is partly attributable to net decommissioning of fossil fuel power generation in Europe, North America and for the first time across Eurasia (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russian Federation and Turkey). Total fossil fuel additions fell to 60 GW in 2020 from 64 GW the previous year highlighting a continued downward trend of fossil fuel expansion.

“These numbers tell a remarkable story of resilience and hope. Despite the challenges and the uncertainty of 2020, renewable energy emerged as a source of undeniable optimism for a better, more equitable, resilient, clean and just future,” said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera. “The great reset offered a moment of reflection and chance to align our trajectory with the path to inclusive prosperity, and there are signs we are grasping it.

“Despite the difficult period, as we predicted, 2020 marks the start of the decade of renewables,” continued Mr. La Camera. “Costs are falling, clean tech markets are growing and never before have the benefits of the energy transition been so clear. This trend is unstoppable, but as the review of our World Energy Transitions Outlook highlights, there is a huge amount to be done. Our 1.5 degree outlook shows significant planned energy investments must be redirected to support the transition if we are to achieve 2050 goals. In this critical decade of action, the international community must look to this trend as a source of inspiration to go further,” he concluded.

Hydro leads the way

The 10.3 per cent rise in installed capacity represents expansion that beats long-term trends of more modest growth year on year. At the end of 2020, global renewable generation capacity amounted to 2 799 GW with hydropower still accounting for the largest share (1 211 GW) although solar and wind are catching up fast. The two variable sources of renewables dominated capacity expansion in 2020 with 127 GW and 111 GW of new installations for solar and wind respectively.

China and the United States of America were the two outstanding growth markets from 2020. China, already the world’s largest market for renewables added 136 GW last year with the bulk coming from 72 GW of wind and 49 GW of solar. The United States of America installed 29 GW of renewables last year, nearly 80 per cent more than in 2019, including 15 GW of solar and around 14 GW of wind. Africa continued to expand steadily with an increase of 2.6 GW, slightly more than in 2019, while Oceania remained the fastest growing region (+18.4%), although its share of global capacity is small and almost all expansion occurred in Australia.

The benefits of outsourcing energy procurement

Power-sharing in the energy industry can make a lot of sense.

Securing the right energy contract for a business can be a time-consuming process due to the complexities of the energy market; the large number of suppliers; and the variety of different terms available.

Those organisations who have the necessary in-house expertise and staff resources to pinpoint the right time and the right energy contract may decide to take care of this aspect of energy management themselves.

But not all energy or facilities managers have a team around them; some work in isolation, and they may be facing an ever-growing list of responsibilities, including the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, waste management and sustainable development.

As the energy markets are fast-moving and often volatile, given the huge range of factors that affect prices, it is important to stay completely up-to-date with the current picture.

Whilst no-one could have foreseen that a giant cargo ship longer than four rugby pitches would have blocked off the world’s largest trade route for a week and thus prevent fuel supplies from getting to their intended destinations on time, a trained eye, with the right analysis tools to assist them, can spot energy price trends in advance.

Outsourcing energy procurementto a trusted and reputable energy consultancy can take the pressure away from businesses and ensure they are not paying over the odds for their gas and electricity, or signing up to unfavourable terms and conditions that may lead to penalty charges down the line.

With an ever-changing renewables landscape and related Third Party Charges (TPCs), compliance and legislation is another area of energy management that is increasingly taking up more of an energy manager’s time.

At Energy Management, we have been helping clients with their whole energy services portfolio for over two decades and support clients in a variety of different industries, in both the private and public sectors.

As the name implies, our Choice Energy Framework (CEF) offers more choice and a better deal for those public sector organisations that join. If you would like to know more about the CEF, you can speak to a member of our team on 01225 867722