Saturday, June 25, 2022

Local companies can be leaders in renewable energy generation – Martin Whitef…

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The Stone Age did not end for lack of stones. Something better came along. The implementation of renewable energy projects is increasing rapidly as these technologies become increasingly competitive with fossil fuels, especially in a scenario where your energy bill can fluctuate wildly due to a geopolitical crisis over which you have no control.

A recent NatWest report found that only 7 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have invested in on-site generation, but that number is set to more than double over the next 12 months, with a significant proportion of SMEs surveyed intending , to invest in generating on site.

All organizations should renew their efforts to include on-site or on-site energy production. About a quarter of your bill goes to the transmission and distribution system operators to deliver energy to our buildings. Another 25 percent goes to the supplier for billing, measurement and their margin. A significant part of these costs can be kept in the local economy.

Our energy system is undergoing a significant change. Traditional centralized, fossil-fuel based systems are giving way to an increasingly renewable, decentralized system. Energy is democratized. At the same time, most organizations strive to improve their environmental, social and governance (ESG) certifications.

These trends are all opening the door to different business models for on-site generation and ways in which individual organizations can get involved in the energy sector. The most direct way to decarbonize your business is to produce your own clean energy. A zero-carbon business means a future-proof business.

It is worth remembering that renewable “fuel” is free, so the dominant cost of energy consumption becomes the infrastructure required to provide it. Wind turbines, battery storage and solar panels have low operating costs after construction. Those with cash reserves (or access to cheap credit) may want to use them to hedge against future energy price increases.

When generating on-site, each location is considered individually in order to find a working solution. It is crucial to clearly understand your goals. Are you looking for cost savings, self-sufficiency, income generation or all together?

If you generate electricity locally, you could set yourself up as a generator and sell electricity to your neighbor or tenant, or you could find neighboring partners to generate electricity on neighboring properties.

Those producing significant amounts of green energy can create a surplus that they can sell back to the grid or neighboring consumers via a private cable arrangement, creating another revenue stream for your business. If you are a commercial developer and landlord, can you maximize returns on the asset by also powering tenants?

Smart grids are systems that allow energy to flow in and out of buildings, measured and controlled by digitized systems. By balancing demand, such systems can reduce inefficiencies, but they also create all sorts of opportunities at the local level. Our companies can be leaders in our cities and communities, encouraging collaboration and experimentation at a local level.

By reimagining these issues as a commercial opportunity, we can begin to see the energy challenges in our cities and communities in a new light.

The pandemic has exposed our dependence on massive but fragile infrastructure. It has sparked a long overdue discussion about localism, the common good, and environmental sustainability. We should all take an active part in this discussion.

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