May 18 Newsletter

May 18 Newsletter 16th May 2018

Increasing Energy Efficiency Through Metering And Monitoring

Do you know how your business is using energy? Metering of utility and resource usage (sometimes called M&T – monitoring and targeting) can enable you to identify energy, carbon and cost savings by providing a comprehensive understanding about how your buildings and processes are operating. By properly understanding the relationship between your energy use and driving factors such as production, weather or daylight, processes and systems can be optimised and real savings achieved.

The most obvious benefit of M&T systems lies in their ability to identify needless energy wastage that might otherwise go undetected. Put another way, it gives you the ability to make the invisible, visible. Wastage which occurs at random due to poor operational control, poor maintenance or equipment malfunction can be identified, and steps can be taken to eliminate the root cause. The savings that this proactive approach to energy management can bring often justify the capital costs associated with installing and operating such systems.

Information from M&T systems can also be invaluable for engaging staff as part of energy saving campaigns. Data can be used to promote behavioural change, increase awareness of how individual actions can impact energy use and ultimately allow individuals to become accountable for how energy is used.

Understanding energy consumption beyond the fiscal utility meters also allows for worthwhile lines of investigation to be the originator of more detailed energy survey work. Instead of undertaking a survey with no clear starting point, information from the M&T system can prompt a well-defined survey strategy. The outcome of such surveys may be the identification of potential energy savings projects or operational improvements.

By having high quality data that shows how energy is used before implementing any savings measures, be they low-cost or no-cost measures, or more capital intensive projects, a well designed M&T system can allow robust evaluation of each measure by taking into account variations in the underlying driving factors.

Once you understand your energy base line, meaningful (that is, realistic and time bound) reduction targets can be set. The M&T system will help you measure your performance against your targets, and if there is a deviation, raise an alarm so that action can be taken at the earliest opportunity. Evidence shows that a well implemented M&T system can help businesses reduce their energy consumption between 5% and 10%.

M&T systems do not have to be complex or time-consuming to operate. Briar Associates has experience in designing and implementing M&T systems across a wide range of commercial and industrial sites. If you would like to discuss how we can help, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

Current Market Position

April saw gas and electricity prices increase amid system tightness, unplanned outages and oil prices at a 3 year high. Electricity prices have risen month on month, tracking the movement in the gas markets. CCGT (combined-cycle gas turbine) power plants are the main source of subsidiary supply which means the power market is highly driven by gas prices.

Gas prices were steady at the start of April as UK terminals received six cargoes of Liquefied Natural Gas. However later in the month several unplanned outages affecting the Norwegian gas fields led to reduced UK supply. Cooler weather also resulted in higher than expected consumption which also pushed prices higher.

Oil had a significant impact on prices during April and surged to a three year high, with geopolitics driving up the price. Volatility is expected to persist with tensions simmering in the Middle East as the Saudi Energy Minister emphasised the need to continue with production cuts to rebalance an oversupplied market.

Looking ahead, European storage stocks reached a record low after winter due to the exceptionally cold weather across the continent. Storage sites need to inject bigger volumes over summer in order to fill before next winter, keeping prices elevated for summer 18.