Article | July 16, 2022
Every year, large corporations spend millions, if not billions, of dollars on energy—and millions more on supply chain, outsourcing, and logistical expenditures. Outside of the most energy-intensive sectors, however, the majority of businesses regard energy as just a cost to be managed. This is a strategic error that misses out on the significant potential to decrease risk, boost resilience, and generate new value.
Today, energy is moving up the corporate agenda as a result of broad environmental, social, and economic developments, such as climate change and global carbon regulation, growing demands on natural resources, increased standards for corporate environmental performance, advances in energy technology and business models, and dropping costs for renewable energy sources. These major trends alter the environment in which businesses operate, exposing them to new risks and value-generating opportunities.
PWC surveyed major commercial and industrial enterprises based in the United States and discovered that 72% are actively exploring new renewable energy acquisitions in order to decrease emissions (85%), produce an attractive ROI (76%), and mitigate the risks related to energy price volatility (59%).
Corporate energy is a focus. Organizations in all sectors—and particularly those with large energy footprints—are encouraged to implement a C-suite strategy for energy management developed around the key points mentioned below.
Make Energy Management a C-Suite Priority.
If energy is to get the attention it requires in order to have an effect, its significance must be conveyed from the top down. This will require the CEO to designate energy management as one of the company's top objectives and delegate strategy development and implementation to the COO, CFO, or other executives.
Embrace Renewable Energy Technologies
Technology advancements, coupled with government incentives, have driven down the cost of sustainable energy. LED lighting, solar energy, wind energy, and the batteries that enable intermittent renewables, for example, have all come down in price in recent years, making these technologies more economical than before. This is significant since alternative energy solutions can provide enormous advantages to businesses, such as preparing them for future requirements, enabling them to continue operations in the case of a power loss, and strengthening their image as an environmentally conscientious brand (for CRE, this. As a result, every business energy management plan should contain a directive to adopt renewable and alternative energies at every opportunity.
Strategize Using Risk and Opportunity
The risk and opportunity factors connected to its sourcing and consumption should serve as the foundation for the company's energy management strategy. This calls for a comprehensive grasp of the company's present energy costs and the potential benefits of change. Therefore, while creating an energy management plan, businesses should think about how they can:
Calculate and cut down on variable energy bills.
Energy costs should be adjusted to improve the value and reduce expenses.
Increase the amount of renewable energy they utilize.
Reduce their carbon footprint.
Select suppliers that exhibit a dedication to eco-friendly operations.
Integrate energy strategy into the organization's goals and daily activities.
Make a public strategy to achieve strict emission and energy use goals.
Competitive edge drivers are constantly evolving. Not a long time ago, "quality" was a fringe philosophy, and IT was just a cost center. Quality is no longer optional, and understanding big data is essential. Energy is taking a similar path. What was previously buried deep inside procurement is now emerging to take its position among the fundamental drivers of corporate success.
Strategy and Best Practices
Article | July 8, 2022
Despite rising energy costs and dwindling customer ratings of the ‘Big Six’, over 37% of Brits still believe they are getting a good deal when it comes to gas and electricity.
Here, Keith Bastian, CEO of rising independent Outfox the Market, challenges those age-old perceptions that are damaging consumer bank balances…
I have never quite understood the notion of pay more for the same service. Except that last part, is really where the difference lies.
As I have made my way through the energy market, it seems clear to me that we are facing a common notion.
Age-old dinosaurs, that have relied on name status and brand power to retain customer loyalty, despite not providing anything different or any value-added service, give the impression that customers are somehow safer with them. That is the biggest misconception.
We at Outfox the Market would like to challenge that.
Of course, when I speak in such a way, I am referring to the ‘Big Six’, those long-established brands whose share in the energy market whilst substantial, is increasingly coming at the cost to its customers.
For example, in the latest independent customer rankings from Which, it was determined that the traditional big energy companies had some of the lowest scores for customer service and value for money, yet some customers still feel secure with them.
On the contrary, rising independents, such as ourselves, were scoring highly in these areas and this is where I feel the difference lies.
Regardless of your opinion on fossil fuels and/or renewables, it is more the value of looking after your customers, understanding their concerns and dealing with them efficiently that has become somewhat lost for the ‘Big Six’.
It is true that they have a larger proportion of customers to serve with a larger workforce, but that should not be to the detriment to the service they provide.
What were are seeing now, as evidenced by the recent Ofgem price hikes, is the ‘Big Six’ once again failing consumers in these areas, with most of the top names putting costs up by £96 a year on average as of April.
I am not one to not acknowledge that energy firms are tongue-tied in some respects in passing regulated costs on; there are times when we must. However, customers could also benefit from a little research.
Even with growing numbers of consumers switching, nearly 60% of all households in the UK are still on standard variable rate tariffs, those that are subject to the incoming Ofgem hikes.
So, the real question is why aren’t more customers switching? Heritage, loyalty and brand association. These facets really should not come at cost of paying more for energy.
I really believe it is down to time-sensitivity and a misunderstanding around the barriers to switching, with cost somewhere in the middle.
According to MoneySuperMarket, 75% of us would switch if we could save £149.99. A hefty figure, but why not the £96 highlighted earlier? That is still pretty good, and something that would add up nicely over the years.
I understand we are time-poor as a nation, it’s well publicised, but we’re all well averse in switching phone contracts and insurance deals, so why not where our energy comes from?
Truth be told, I believe it’s an age-old notion that energy is ‘just something that comes with the house, not worth the hours or hassle to change.’
But in all honesty, it takes a matter of seconds to switch. Firms such as ourselves offer this and more via a quick and easy quote online. Best of all, many energy providers will help manage the switching process for you, contacting your current provider and notifying them of your intentions.
I would also like to challenge this notion that once an energy firm ‘gets you’, you are ‘locked in’ for years upon end in ever rising contract costs.
If you are on a standard variable tariff, you can switch to a new provider at any time. What’s more, even if you are in a fixed term energy deal, which can be subject to exit fees, sometimes the cost involved outweighs the savings you can make with your new provider.
Customers must do their best to ask more of energy firms, check the service they are being given and hold it up against national bill averages. Compare what your neighbours, friends and family are paying under similar living circumstances, and weigh up if you are being given a fair deal.
Living costs and regulated price hikes are always going to be an ever present worry, so I call on both customers and energy firms to do their due diligence in these respects.
Age-old energy firms relying on their reputation must take a serious inward look at their lessening market share to understand why they are failing customers.
It’s time to make a change now, both from business attitude and a consumer standpoint; switching is quick, easy and a vital notion to bear in mind, as both retaining custom and saving money becomes an ever-growing sticking point in the energy market.
Article | July 7, 2023
Cleaner energy resources are the dire need of the hour and this is a known fact. While scientists and experts across the planet are striving hard to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, our energy needs have never faced a downfall- thanks to rapid industrialization and urbanization. Although renewable resources like solar, wind, and hydro-electric power are the most popular alternatives, these are seasonal energy sources and the energy production from the same will not be similar all around the year. The fluctuations in production hence cannot always meet the energy demand of the population, and this makes the renewable energy sources not completely reliable.
Solar Production v/s Demand of the same in a year
What and How H2 is produced?
Now, this is where Hydrogen- the first element of the periodic table comes to the spotlight with a solution. Being a gas, hydrogen fuel can very well cater to our energy needs and is produced from techniques including Thermochemical, Solar-Water splitting, electrolytic and biological processes. While the production of this cleaner energy source leaves a carbon footprint of about 830 million tonnes in the form of CO2 annually, the result being a zero-emission fuel is what makes H2’s future bright.
Storage of H2 – the million-dollar question:
Having almost cleared the need and methods of producing hydrogen fuel, we will be looking at an area that is usually not given much thought about and that is the storage of H2. As already mentioned, for time being let us consider hydrogen as an alternative to renewable resources which is utilized when the energy demand increases drastically. While producing the fuel in the nick of time is obviously undoable, sufficient storage of H2 anticipating the demand is the best choice. Like Natural Gas, Hydrogen is also compressed before storing to achieve lower volume and also because liquid hydrogen demands a 64% higher amount of energy for storage than its compressed gaseous counterpart.
Storage tanks v/s Geological landforms:
Compressed Hydrogen can be stored in surface storage vessels (like steel composite concrete vessels and in wind turbine towers) or in geological landforms like (salt caverns, depleted O&G reservoirs, and aquifers). Nevertheless, unlike the underground geological landforms which offer huge storage capacity owing to their sheer scale, the storage tanks which can range in size from a small bottle to a huge tank require high amounts of pressure to store an appreciable amount of H2 in it. Since these storage tanks are usually constructed on the surface, the pressure conditions in these tanks need to be artificially stimulated and thereby mount huge upfront costs when compared to their geological storage counterpart.
H2 storage prices in Geological Landforms v/s Storage Vessels (in $/kg)
The above is a table comparing the prices of Hydrogen storage in Geological landforms and Storage Vessels at different pressure conditions. It is visible from the table that it's about 218 times cheaper to store the same amount of hydrogen in Geological landforms than in storage vessels.
Is geological storage truly a better option?
Like any other storage option geological storage too has its pros and cons. From the erosion of pipelines to the tedious task of injecting the gas and maintaining it at apt pressure conditions, geological storage has its limitations. However, the important prerequisite is the availability of the suitable landform itself.
While most of the Depleted O&G Reservoirs have already met all the requirements for a suitable Underground Hydrogen Storage (UHS) system, the presence of unrecoverable remnant fluids in it makes it both a boon and a bane. This is because the presence of remnant fluids like oil and gas satisfies the cushion gas need for efficient storage of H2 in the reservoir, chances of contamination of H2 by the same is also high. This is the reason why Aquifers too aren’t favorable underground landforms when it comes to hydrogen storage.
Salt Caverns- the best UHS System?
The problem of Hydrogen contamination in Depleted Oil & Gas reservoirs and aquifers leaves us to the next big suitable subsurface landform- salt caverns. Unlike the other two landforms, the problem of contamination can be prevented in these dome-like structures formed due to the upliftment of salt deposits and it is also found that about 98% of its storage efficiency can be used to store Hydrogen here. The reason behind its relatively expensive nature when compared to its other two counterparts is due to the process of salt removing or leaching that must be done before storing to ensure that the contamination of the gas is unheard of at least here.
Suitable Conditions of UHS:
As per Stefan Iglauer, the maximum amount of H2 can be stored at a depth of 1100m beneath the Earth’s surface and the capacity gradually decreases up until 3700 m depth beyond which the wettability of the gas increases as it percolates through the rocks and hence cannot be permanently immobilized. Conclusively it is found that suitable landforms formed at 1km depth can store up to 2.0 Mt of H2. Comparing this 2 MT storage capacity of Salt Caverns with the currently available storage tanks which can store about 800 kg of H2 in it, it is visible that geological landforms have a clear upper hand at least when it comes to storage capacity.
Future of UHS:
With demands for Hydrogen fuel estimated to grow at 5.48 % annually and the need for a suitable storage system of the same at 5.8% annually, the field of Underground Hydrogen Storage systems indeed has a bright scope. Moreover, to meet the large-scale needs of Industries, there is an imminent need to level up the storage capacity of H2 and by exploring suitable geological landforms across the globe, the estimated industrial need of 1200 kT/ year in 2050 can be met.
Strategy and Best Practices
Article | July 8, 2022
Renewable energy has transformed our planet. It's raised awareness of global warming and climate change. Both governments and ordinary people are seeking to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy because of this awareness. Technology's involvement in this revolution cannot be understated. Thought a few years ago that solar energy would power average houses in small communities. Thanks to the widespread manufacture of lithium-ion batteries, EVs will be the next big thing.
Major Renewable Energy Technologies Transforming the Future
Despite the name, this is not a conspiracy theory about global dominance. Modern technology converts electricity into synthetic fuels, thermal energy, and hydrogen. This breakthrough technology can minimize fossil fuel dependence by focusing on synthetic ones. It can also help with efficient storage solutions.
Green Appliances and Machines
Leading household appliance makers are launching solar-powered appliances. This is a wonderful start toward minimizing family power expenses. Many households have begun to invest in gadgets such as solar air conditioners.
Distributed Generation Systems
Several locations are experimenting with distributed generation. This reduces dependence on a centralized grid and simplifies transmission and distribution. It also reduces grid dependability and failures.
Most European nations are actively electrifying to cut carbon emissions. This is not the same as a power supply. Rather, it implies developing assets and infrastructure that can shift and aid in the adoption of electricity. Providing public EV charging stations is a step towards electrification.
Prominent private companies such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft have made significant commitments to renewable energy in recent years. While some governments are actively attempting to make the shift, others have yet to take environmental challenges such as global warming and climate change seriously. Technological breakthroughs are helping to make the transition to renewable energy greener, quicker, and more economical.