Stuart O'Brien, Author at Energy Management Summit | Forum Events Ltd

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Stuart O'Brien

Do you specialise in Energy Storage? We want to hear from you!

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Each month on Energy Management Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the market – and in June we’ll be focussing on Energy Storage

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help energy management buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Energy Storage solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Lisa Rose on 01992 374077 / l.rose@forumevents.co.uk.

Our features list in full:

Jun – Energy Storage
Jul – Data Collection & Management
Aug – Waste Management
Sept – Solar PV
Oct – Lighting
Nov – Heating & Ventilation
Dec – Onsite Renewables

UK offshore companies to invest £250bn in low-carbon energy

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The UK’s offshore energy producers are to invest £200-£250 billion by 2030 to provide the nation with secure and increasingly low carbon energy, according to research by Offshore Energies UK (OEUK).

It has assessed the spending plans of offshore energy companies operating in UK waters, looking at their investment plans over this decade. OEUK represents 400 leading companies and organisations involved in  energy production in the North Sea, Irish Sea and near Atlantic, including oil, gas and offshore wind.

The findings suggest around 60% of the investments will be spent building renewable and low carbon energy infrastructure, such as offshore wind and systems for capturing CO2 for permanent disposal in deep rock formations.

Such investments are just a fraction of what is needed for the UK to reach net zero – the point at which it generates no overall greenhouse gas emissions. The UK government’s target for achieving this is 2050. The Office for Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) has put the cost of reaching net zero at £1.4 trillion and has said £1 trillion of this money must come from UK companies.

Some companies have already set out their investment plans. This week BP, one of the largest UK oil and gas producers, announced plans to invest up to £18 billion in the UK’s energy system by the end of 2030. Most of its plans are for offshore wind and other low-carbon projects such as mass hydrogen production and CO2 capture.
Shell has said it will invest £25 billion into UK energy systems over the next decade with 75% of the investment in low-carbon products and services including offshore wind and hydrogen production.

Such pledges support OEUK’s own research findings, that the biggest investments over the next decade will come from oil and gas companies transitioning to low-carbon alternatives, and that offshore wind would be the biggest beneficiary, including:

  • £70 billion-plus in capital investment, adding 40 gigawatts of capacity to the 10Gw already built
  • £20 billion in operational expenditure – maintaining and operating wind farm infrastructure
  • Investment in people: Building a workforce skilled in constructing and maintaining offshore infrastructure is becoming a priority for offshore operators and their supply chains.

Other low carbon technologies will attract billions more, including:

  • £20 billion in mass hydrogen production and carbon capture transport and storage plants

Oil and gas will remain vital for many years, albeit in decreasing amounts, so energy companies are planning further investments to ensure the UK can meet as much of its own needs as possible.

  • £25 billion to open new oil and gas fields or expand existing resource
  • £50 billion to maintain or improve existing infrastructure – much of which is ageing
  • £15 billion to decommission infrastructure that has become redundant.

Such figures must be treated with caution as the spending plans of different companies are at different stages and not all are fully committed. However, based on past trends, the overall amounts are likely to increase significantly as time goes by.

The research coincides with a surge in the tax revenue being generated for the UK exchequer by the UK offshore sector.

  • £20 million/day OBR estimate of how much UK tax is currently being paid by offshore oil and gas companies – more than double what they were paying a year ago.
  • £7.8 billion Total UK tax income from offshore oil and gas companies for this financial year – more than double the £3.1 billion paid last year. (OBR prediction)

Ross Dornan, OEUK’s market intelligence manager, who oversaw the research, said he expected to see offshore energy companies investing up to £150 billion in renewable and low-carbon projects, plus another £90 billion in oil and gas projects by 2030. Most of the investments would be from companies transitioning from oil and gas into low-carbon energy.

“The UK’s energy companies are leading perhaps the most ambitious and far-reaching energy transition our nation has ever seen. They are providing the UK with energy now, mostly from oil and gas, while working to replace those fuels with low-carbon alternatives.

“It means we must invest in our existing oil and gas reserves to protect the UK against the global prices spikes and possible shortages generated by crises like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while also spending billions on the energies of the future.

“The amounts being spent are far greater than any sums that might be raised by a windfall tax but what policymakers need to understand is the sheer scale, not just of the investments but also of the ambition. The UK could become a world leader in low-carbon and renewable energy – but to achieve that we need long-term thinking by planners and policymakers.

“Above all we need a stable and predictable set of rules governing the way the industry is taxed and regulated. “We are proud to pay our taxes and support the UK’s net zero targets but if those rules keep changing it will undermine confidence, drive investors away and make the UK’s net zero targets impossible to achieve.”

Lack of regulation a ‘key obstacle’ to renewable investment

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Research from Downing LLP has identified liquidity constraints and insufficient regulation as the key barriers to investment in renewable energy for UK pension funds, other institutional investors and wealth managers.

Downing offers both institutional and retail investors the opportunity to invest in renewable energy and other infrastructure in the UK and northern Europe.

A survey of 100 UK professional investors, who collectively manage around £118 billion in assets under management, reveals 75% say a lack of liquidity in certain areas of the renewable energy sector is the main barrier to investment. Seventy per cent say regulation needs to improve while the same number cite high costs as an obstacle to investment in renewables.

More than half (54%) say there is not enough transparency in the renewable energy asset class, while 31% say there is a lack of track record or data in certain areas.

Nearly all (94%) of institutional investors and wealth managers say the renewable energy sector will become more attractive in the next three years, with 45% saying it will be much more so and 49% saying slightly more attractive.

When asked to pick their top three reasons for the sector becoming more attractive to investors, almost three-quarters (71%) highlight the macro-economic environment e.g., high inflation and more volatility. At the same time, half cite a predicted fall in fixed income yields.

Some six out of ten professional investors (61%) include expected regulatory changes, encouraging decarbonisation in their top three factors, making renewables more appealing to investors.

Nearly half (46%) include tougher regulation against oil and gas companies in their top three reasons.

Liquidity too is expected to improve with 62% of respondents anticipating more investment opportunities in renewable energy.

Tom Williams, Head of Energy & Infrastructure at Downing and manager of Downing Renewables & Infrastructure Trust, said: “Renewable energy is gaining more importance to institutional investors and wealth managers as they consider the climate change risk to their portfolio. However, the asset class needs to be more transparent, lower cost and be supported by appropriate regulation. Transparency is one of the key reasons why Downing Renewables & Infrastructure Trust chose to become an Article 9 fund.”

5 Minutes With… On-Site Energy’s David Kipling

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In the latest instalment of our energy management industry executive interview series we speak to On-Site Energy CEO David Kipling about rising energy costs, what we can all do to manage through that challenge and how the path to Net Zero presents an opportunity for us all…

Tell us about your company, products and services.

DK:  The inspiration for ON-SITE came from my previous role where I led a team addressing energy in over 100 manufacturing plants globally.  We saw the value of data-led energy analysis in identifying more than 50% savings but we found in practice we could only execute those measures with a short payback.

With the pressure now on achieving better sustainability, and on reducing costs, companies are going to have to find a way of doing the longer payback measures that until now sit on the shelf.   This is what ON-SITE is about – we help unblock long payback capex and enable the measures to happen.  We work with our customers to identify measures with a data-led approach, and then implement them using our money, with no contribution from the customer.  We effectively keep some of the savings to pay for our returns, and pass the remainder on to the customer through lower energy costs.  This way we can also help companies embrace net zero much faster.

We work with energy intensive manufacturing companies, and cover a wide range of technologies including efficiency measures, onsite generation and heat recovery.  We think its important to identify the most appropriate measures and which will have most impact, so we keep an open mind on what we recommend and are instead guided by the data.

What have been the biggest challenges the Energy Management industry has faced over the past 12 months?

DK:  The crisis of rising energy costs that started last Autumn has brought sharp focus on energy costs for many.   It really has shown the value of energy hedging but also the risks of what happens when your hedge ends and you face the market again.    Our view is the best way of defending your business from the market prices in the long term is (1)  consume less through investing in energy efficiency measures and (2) invest in your own generation, which is usually much cheaper and efficient, so that between these two steps you minimise your exposure..

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

DK:  Net Zero.  Most significant businesses now have a sustainability strategy with goals for achieving carbon neutral, but a lot have also had capex capped for at least the next few years because of COVID-19.  The pressure for change is building, and the main obstacles are capex and sometimes innovation.   We can help with both of these with our zero capex approach, and enable companies to stay on track or even accelerate their plans.

What is the biggest priority for the Energy Management industry in 2022?

DK: I would say that underlying its still decarbonisation, but the cost pressures of the last six months means that reducing energy costs on a long term basis will take priority.

Fundamentally your business needs to be viable to be sustainable, so costs need to be addressed..  The good news is that sustainability improvement goes hand in hand with savings, so accelerating your sustainability plans can also mean lower energy costs.

The biggest challenge will be decarbonisation of heat – in other words planning to switch from gas to electricity.  This will be a massive change for gas hungry businesses.  I think this will be an increasing priority given the recent cost of gas, and increasing talk about hydrogen (albeit that’s still years away). For a lot of businesses that will mean significant additional cost unless they develop a comprehensive approach and plan.

What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2022/23?

DK:  I see two things – there is going to be a bigger push on onsite generation to reduce costs, and also the next round of ESOS is due by end 2023, and its likely it will be mandatory by then to have to enact the measures reported.  Its going to result in a lot of challenges to auditor findings, but its also going to bring a focus on getting ahead of the game and being proactive in addressing points.

What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?

DK:     I think its going to be solar PV.  Its cheap, fairly fast to deploy and can provide some relief for businesses against the high energy costs.     The issue is its usually limited impact in manufacturer’s energy costs.  For much larger savings you can’t beat CHP currently, but the key is using the heat constructively to reduce other fossil fuels.

In 2025 we’ll all be talking about…?

DK:  100% Hydrogen-ready CHP.  The technology already is in market, but there isn’t much hydrogen available to use it.   Whilst the initial reaction for some is its more gas usage, CHP could be the transition technology to 24/7 zero carbon onsite generation once hydrogen is available.

Which person in, or associated with, the Energy Management industry would you most like to meet?

DK:  Lisa Rose of Forum Events (again) !   Lisa’s an enthusiast and is great at making people talk.  We need more Lisa’s !    It was good to get back to some face to face networking last year at the energy management event in London.  Looking forward to this October.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the Energy Management sector?

DK:  I think people enjoy learning about opportunities they hadn’t previously known about, which can be brought about by new technologies .  It’s an exciting space which is innovating fast.  It also has a meaningful impact on both business profits and on climate change and sustainability, so the people in the Energy Management space are often driven by the benefits they can deliver.

You go to the bar at the Energy Management Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?

DK:  Mine’s a pint !

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

DK:  Delivering new insights and levels of savings not thought possible

And what’s the most challenging?

DK:  Countering the “we’ve seen it before” response.   Reality is if they saw exactly “it” previously, then “it” has either changed massively or it wasn’t approached in the way we would use it.  It doesn’t hurt to take 15 minutes to see if you can learn something.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

DK:  A quick “no” is better than a slow “no”.

Peaky Blinders or Stranger Things?

DK:   My TV watching is limited to repeats of Top Gear.

You’re invited to the Energy Management Summit

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The Energy Management Summit is an invitation-only event taking place October 11th & 12th – as a senior professional in the energy management industry, we’d love you to attend!

The Energy Management Summit allows you to meet 1-2-1 with innovative suppliers for 20-minute meetings. There is no hard sell, just a chance to meet and explore your options.

Your place is completely free and includes; your own itinerary of meetings with suppliers, full hospitality including overnight accommodation, an evening dinner with entertainment, and a seat at our industry seminar sessions*.

Please confirm your attendance or click here to schedule a call with us to discuss further.

Veolia uses hydrotreated vegetable oil for first renewable fleet

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Broadland District Council’s latest contract for all waste collection services including residual, recycling and food waste and for street cleaning with Veolia will see the FM specialist utilise a renewably-fuelled fleet for the first time.

The 10 year contract that started in April 2022 has an option for an extension of up to a further 10 years.

Reducing energy consumption and reaching carbon neutrality is essential for combating climate change and the new contract includes a commitment to reduce operational emissions and to develop low carbon solutions. This supports Broadland District Council’s priority to protect the environment and for continuous environmental improvement.

Every vehicle in the fleet is fully powered by Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), a bio-based liquid fuel made from vegetable oils and animal fats. HVO is a low carbon, low emission, fossil-free and sustainable alternative to conventional fossil diesel which eliminates up to 90% of net CO2 and reduces nitrogen oxide (NOX), particulate matter (PM) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions.

HVO fuel is fully interchangeable with conventional diesel and can be used pure or blended with fossil diesel if required. The fleet in the Broadland district will be solely powered by HVO in a first for Veolia in the UK.

Councillor Judy Leggett, portfolio holder for Environmental Excellence, said: “We’re very pleased to be continuing our very successful working relationship with Veolia through the award of this major new contract. The contract brings together an excellent service for residents with innovative new approaches which will help to make our waste and recycling services more effective and even more environmentally friendly. This new contract will help drive us towards our aim of being carbon neutral well ahead of the Government’s 2050 target.”

Pascal Hauret, Managing Director Municipal, Veolia UK said: “We’re delighted to launch our first fully HVO powered fleet in Broadland. HVO significantly reduces CO2 emissions so this is a hugely positive step in our shared commitment to net zero. Importantly, whilst the availability of HVO is still limited in the UK, Veolia has secured a guaranteed supply for the entire contract term.”

The new contract also offers residents an enhanced service with the introduction of weekly kerbside collections of small electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and textile collections.

The Council will continue to roll out food waste collections and will now be able to achieve its goal of food waste collections to all Broadland residents in 2023.

Renewables dominated global power additions in 2021

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Data released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows that renewable energy continued to grow and gain momentum despite global uncertainties.

By the end of 2021, global renewable generation capacity amounted to 3 064 Gigawatt (GW), increasing the stock of renewable power by 9.1 per cent.

Although hydropower accounted for the largest share of the global total renewable generation capacity with 1 230 GW, IRENA’s Renewable Capacity Statistics 2022 shows that solar and wind continued to dominate new generating capacity. Together, both technologies contributed 88 per cent to the share of all new renewable capacity in 2021. Solar capacity led with 19 per cent increase, followed by wind energy, which increased its generating capacity by 13 per cent.

IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera, said: “This continued progress is another testament of renewable energy’s resilience. Its strong performance last year represents more opportunities for countries to reap renewables’ multiple socio-economic benefits. However, despite the encouraging global trend, our new World Energy Transitions Outlook shows that the energy transition is far from being fast or widespread enough to avert the dire consequences of climate change.”

“Our current energy crisis also adds to the evidence that the world can no longer rely on fossil fuels to meet its energy demand. Money directed to fossil fuel power plants yields unrewarding results, both for the survival of a nation and the planet. Renewable power should become the norm across the globe. We must mobilise the political will to accelerate the 1.5°C pathway.”

To achieve climate goals, renewables must grow at a faster pace than energy demand. However, many countries have not reached this point yet, despite significantly increasing the use of renewables for electricity generation.

Sixty per cent of the new capacity in 2021 was added in Asia, resulting in a total of 1.46 Terawatt (TW) of renewable capacity by 2021. China was the biggest contributor, adding 121 GW to the continent’s new capacity. Europe and North America—led by the USA—took second and third places respectively, with the former adding 39 GW, and the latter 38 GW. Renewable energycapacity grew by 3.9 per cent in Africa and 3.3 per cent in Central America and the Caribbean. Despite representing steady growth, the pace in both regions is much slower than the global average, indicating the need for stronger international cooperation to optimise electricity markets and drive massive investments in those regions.

Highlights by technology:

  • Hydropower: Growth in hydro increased steadily in 2021 with the commissioning of several large projects delayed through 2021.
  • Wind energy: Wind expansion continued at a lower rate in 2021 compared to 2020

(+93 GW compared to +111 GW last year).

  • Solar energy: With an increase in new capacity in all major world regions in previous years, total global solar capacity has now outgrown wind energy capacity.
  • Bioenergy: Net capacity expansion increased in 2021 (+10.3 GW compared to +9.1 GW in 2020).
  • Geothermal energy: Geothermal capacity had an exceptional growth in 2021, with 1.6 GW added.
  • Off-grid electricity: Off-grid capacity grew by 466 MW in 2021 (+4%) to reach 11.2 GW.

Read the full Renewable Capacity Statistics 2022 including the highlights, here.

SPIE secures five-year FM contract with NHS NSS

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SPIE UK has been appointed by NHS National Services Scotland to deliver planned and reactive maintenance of mechanical and electrical assets across nine National Services Scotland (NSS) properties in Glasgow, Scotland.

Under the five-year contract (three plus two), SPIE UK will be responsible for managing mechanical and electrical assets and will undertake planned and reactive maintenance. Sustainability is at the forefront of the work, which includes collaborating with the NHS Energy team to develop and promote energy conservation and technology improvements throughout the term of the contract.

Properties included within the scope represent critical infrastructure for the running of NHS services throughout Scotland, including NHS 24 call centres and the National Distribution Centres which distributes essential stock to hospitals throughout Scotland. To further add value, SPIE UK will be supplying energy management services to NHS NSS.

The SPIE UK team will be offering building energy surveys, an introduction of an energy management platform, behavioral analysis, and life cycle analysis.

Jim Skivington, Divisional Managing Director at SPIE UK, said: “NHS National Services Scotland works at the heart of the health service, providing national strategic support services and expert advice to NHS Scotland. SPIE UK being awarded this five-year contract is a testament to our excellence in delivering a range of specialist planned, reactive and statutory maintenance and Facility Management services. With our combined engineering ingenuity, excellent management capabilities and technological know-how, SPIE is best placed to deliver these works efficiently.”

Do you specialise in Water Management? We want to hear from you!

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Each month on Energy Management Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the market – and in May we’ll be focussing on Water Management.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help energy management buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Water Management solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Lisa Rose on 01992 374077 / l.rose@forumevents.co.uk.

Our features list in full:

May – Water Management/Strategy
Jun – Energy Storage
Jul – Data Collection & Management
Aug – Waste Management
Sept – Solar PV
Oct – Lighting
Nov – Heating & Ventilation
Dec – Onsite Renewables

APAC to lead global battery energy storage market

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The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is set to lead the global battery energy storage market, accounting for 68% of the global market value through 2026, with China, Japan, India, South Korea and Australia propelling the regional market.

That’s according to GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Battery Energy Storage Market Size, Share and Trends Analysis by Technology, Installed Capacity, Generation, Drivers, Constraints, Key Players and Forecast, 2021-2026’, which reveals that the global market for the battery energy storage is estimated to grow to $10.84bn in 2026, out of which APAC will account for $7.33bn.

Bhavana Sri Pullagura, Senior Power Analyst at GlobalData, said: “Fall in battery technology prices, increasing need for grid stability and resilience of the integration of renewable power in the power market are some major factors that contribute to the growth.”

China, one of the fastest-growing economies, is expected to lead the global battery energy storage market with $4.04bn in 2026. A mammoth target of 1,200 GW of wind and solar capacity will provide considerable growth opportunities to the energy storage market over the forecast period.

China, South Korea, the US, Germany, and the UK will be the major markets on the back of supportive regulations and incentives.

Pullagura added: “The rapid growth in demand for electricity and the wider use of renewable integration will keep the demand for battery energy storage market buoyant in other countries, leading to a significant growth in the market over the forecast period. Grid transformations, improving electrification rates, and electricity provisions for the rapidly growing population will create market opportunities.”

Over the last decade, various new digital and smart technologies have been integrated. Countries have been aggressively promoting the modernization of grids and enhancing the grids’ capability to meet the requirements of the present and future. Additionally, batteries are being deployed to aid smart grids, integrate renewables, create responsive electricity markets, provide ancillary services, and enhance both system resilience and energy self-sufficiency.

Pullagura concluded: “GlobalData believes that encouraging policies and high electricity charges are also nudging the market to renewables and/or storage plus renewables at the end consumer level. As the power sector evolves to accommodate new technologies and adapt to varying market trends, energy storage will play a crucial role in the transition and transformation of the power sector.”