How Engaging with the Right Energy Experts Could Help You Reduce Your Reliance on the Electricity Grid

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A significant energy crisis recently gripped the country and plunged the market into near chaos, prompting the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to step in and temporarily suspend the National Energy Market on 15 June 2022.

Soaring energy prices, the threat of power outages, and overall uncertainty in the market have a detrimental impact on business operations and profitability. The unprecedented market conditions call for an urgent re-evaluation of your organisation’s approach to energy management.

Reducing energy consumption through energy efficiency upgrades and introducing measures to minimise reliance on the electricity grid – along with smart energy management and sophisticated reporting – should be top priorities for organisations seeking to mitigate financial and corporate risks posed by the ongoing crisis.

To take a holistic view of your organisation’s energy efficiency and energy management needs, here are five tips to reduce reliance on the electricity grid and achieve energy independence.

Five Tips for Organisations to reduce reliance on the electricity grid


Tip 1: Partner with energy efficiency and smart energy management experts

The first step is to connect with a team of experts who can provide advice and practical support in developing an effective strategy around energy efficiency, energy management, and assist with the implementation of solutions.

Building partnership with the right team of experts from the outset can set you up for success. Conversely, not getting the right advice and support may reduce your chances of achieving key objectives.

Our advice is to partner with a company that has ample experience in your industry and one that offers integrated services and end-to-end solutions. This includes energy audits and advisory services, engineering design, implementation of energy efficiency and emissions reduction solutions including renewable generation and energy storage, smart building solutions, energy management, and ongoing maintenance.

Tip 2: Understand current patterns of energy consumption by area and fuel source

The next step is to understand how much energy your buildings and infrastructure is using at different times of the year. This can be achieved either through a high-level energy assessment/audit, or a detailed facility study.

A good starting point would be an energy assessment or audit undertaken by a qualified expert, typically an engineer specialising in sustainability and energy efficiency measures. They will assess your buildings/infrastructure and provide a detailed report comprising:

  • Rich insights about energy consumption patterns over different periods of time (‘load profile’ by day, week, month, etc),
  • Which components of your infrastructure consume the most amount of energy; and
  • How much electricity and gas are used.

A quality assessment would outline comprehensive recommendations around opportunities to conserve energy consumption and introduce renewable energy generation and storage capacity. The report will also include cost estimates for upgrades with projected savings and return on investment outcomes for each opportunity/solution and an overall combined package of measures.

Tip 3: Develop an energy reduction and smart energy management plan – includes setting targets/goals/objectives and outlining a pathway to energy independence

The third step is to work with your energy efficiency/sustainability partner to co-create a blueprint or action plan to minimise energy consumption and introduce measures to reduce reliance on the electricity grid.

To develop an effective blueprint/action plan, work with your selected partner to establish the following:

  • A stakeholder engagement strategy to get buy-in from key stakeholders and decision-makers
  • Develop targets that are aligned to corporate objectives (for example, ensure that your targets are aligned and contribute towards achieving broader sustainability and financial goals your organisation may have). These targets should be S.M.A.R.T – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
  • Priority sites earmarked for capital upgrades (if your organisation has more than one building or location)
  • Develop the scope of work for the optimal balance and potential of achieving energy targets and meeting acceptable return on investment criteria
  • Confirm the timeline and scope of projects and whether there’d be more than one phase to the project
  • Confirm procurement strategy and project delivery model
  • Confirm budget and source of funding
  • Define success criteria and key milestones with reference to established targets
  • Measurement and verification plan to ensure there’s a robust process to measure and verify results from works carried out
  • Approach to ongoing energy management monitoring and reporting
  • Determine data requirements for initial analysis and ongoing monitoring purposes
  • Approach to ongoing maintenance

Tip 4: Implement energy efficiency, renewable generation and backup supply/storage opportunities

Once you have a clear strategy and action plan in place, you then engage your selected partner to implement various solutions in accordance with the action plan.

To ensure your energy savings targets are met, you should contract work to a partner/supplier that has a demonstrable capability to provide performance guarantees and have the outcomes of the project independently measured and verified. Ideally, the selected partner company should have the capability to deliver both the assessment and implement the solutions, with performance guarantees.

Tip 5: Ongoing monitoring, tracking progress against targets and taking corrective action

After all projects have been completed, it’s important to debrief, identify and document all outcomes. Then you can critically evaluate if those outcomes have met key success criteria outlined in the blueprint/action plan.

It’s also important to establish ongoing energy monitoring and management reporting to ensure implemented projects are performing as expected, identify early any changes in sub-optimal operating conditions and provide visibility of how your organisation is tracking against established targets. If there are areas that need attention or improvement, you can take corrective action as required. Your selected partner should be able to assist with ongoing reporting requirements.


 

These five steps are by no means comprehensive and there is a myriad of issues and factors you need to consider when looking to reduce energy costs and achieve energy independence. The first and perhaps most important step is to make sure you partner with a company that has the resources, capability and experience to assist you every step of the way.

If you’re looking for expert guidance, practical support at every stage of your journey, or discover why numerous organisations have chosen Ecosave as their sustainability partner – call 1300 55 77 64, or Connect with us here.

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