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Are companies ready for the decentralized energy future? Survey says no

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While a majority of companies feel that they are well-prepared for a changing energy landscape, they may have a false sense of security according to new research.

In a study, The State of Corporate Energy & Sustainability Programmes 2018, France-headquartered energy management and automation firm Schneider Electric found that while most companies believe they are prepared to deal with decentralization, decarbonization and digitalization, many are not taking the necessary steps to integrate and advance energy management and carbon emissions reduction.

The study surveyed 240 large companies worldwide, finding that 85 per cent plan to take action over the next three years to keep carbon reduction plans competitive with industry leaders.

But the projects that have been initiated or are in development skew heavily toward energy, water and waste conservation, the survey found. Aside from renewables, few firms are implementing more advanced strategies and technologies to manage energy and emissions.  

For example, while 81 per cent of companies have made efficiency upgrades or plan to, and 75 per cent are working to reduce waste and water consumption, 30 per cent or less have implemented or are considering new energy opportunities such as microgrids, energy storage or combined heat and power (CHP), and just 25 per cent have demand response strategies in place or planned.

Barriers to progress cited by the surveyed firms include a lack of both internal coordination and collaboration, with 61 per cent saying energy and sustainability decisions are not well-coordinated across relevant teams and departments.  Of these, smaller firms reported coordination as a bigger problem: 67 per cent of companies with annual revenues between $100m and $250m compared to only 34 per cent of the largest companies surveyed.

Insufficient data management was also cited as a barrier to integrated energy and carbon management, with 45 per cent of firms reporting that organizational data is handled at the local or regional level rather than nationally or globally.

“We are in the middle of a massive disruption in the way energy is consumed and produced,” said Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Schneider Electric’s chair and CEO. “The near-universal focus on conservation is a positive. However, being a savvy consumer is only a part of what’s needed to survive and thrive.

“Companies need to prepare to be an active energy participant, putting the pieces in place to produce energy, and interact with the grid, utilities, peers and other new entrants.

“Those that fail to act now will be left behind.”

The report may be found here

 

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