Distributed energy market opens up opportunities for mission critical sites

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The falling cost of distributed energy technologies is opening up opportunities for hospitals and industrial sites to make a major impact on emissions reductions. 

A report by Centrica shows that new energy technology could meet more than half of the 20% carbon reduction target by 2030 for the healthcare, industry and hospitality sectors, as set out by the Clean Growth Strategy. Published following the IPCC’s report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C, the Powering Sustainability report highlights the opportunity for distributed energy technologies such as battery storage, onsite generation and energy efficiency to deliver an 11% saving across the sectors, which together represent over a quarter (27%) of emissions. 

The report also recommends that a full assessment be completed across all sectors of business and the public sector to identify the opportunities posed by distributed energy technology for the UK.

Jorge Pikunic, Managing Director of Centrica Business Solutions, said: “The UK has made a big contribution to the fight against global warming. Much of this has been due to the shift away from coal-fired generation and the deployment of solar and wind energy. But things get more difficult from here, as we strive to hit our goal of an 80% reduction in UK carbon emissions by 2050. 

“The good news is that business and the public sector can play a central role over the next decade in our path to decarbonisation. This report shows how by adopting distributed energy technologies, we can significantly reduce emissions and make a positive impact to the economy at the same time.”

According to Pikunic, sites are now realising that there is potential to create new revenue streams, while the trend is being driven by the falling cost of distributed energy technologies.

Battery prices are down 79% since 2010 and are expected to fall further still to around $70/kWh by 2030 – a further 67% drop on today’s prices. Distributed energy costs will continue to come down as technology advances, supply chains become more efficient and manufacturers achieve economies of scale. 

New financing options are also available to companies for the deployment of distributed energy technologies. 

A growing number of banks are offering ‘green loans’ to businesses and energy companies, such as Centrica, are also offering finance packages, which makes distributed energy solutions more accessible than ever before. 

In support of the research, Gudrun Cartwright, Director of Environment at Business in the Community, commented: “It is great to see such a clear analysis of the potential of distributed energy systems to build energy resilience, cut carbon and save money for business and the NHS.”

It is estimated that the deployment of distributed energy solutions in just 50% of organisations could achieve annual savings of 9 MtCO2e, culminating in a total of 137 MtCO2e by 2030. For each sector that would mean: 

• Healthcare: An annual emissions reduction equivalent to 16% of the NHS’s current carbon footprint;

• Industry: An annual emissions reduction equivalent to 11% of the industrial sector’s current carbon footprint;

• Hospitality and leisure: An annual emissions reduction equivalent to 14% of the hospitality and leisure sector’s current carbon footprint.

“This is not just about hitting targets or obeying rules set down by the government and regulators. 

“We know from talking to our customers there is a growing customer preference for climate-friendly products, services and providers, which means that there is a commercial imperative too,” Pikunic concluded.

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