Businesses and major corporations are increasingly turning to microgrids to reduce their energy costs and increase resilience against outages. This is known as the Commercial and Industrial (C&I) sector, and is growing faster than any other area deploying microgrids.
The global microgrid market is forecast to grow to more than £29bn by the end of 2023, with C&I representing more than 35 percent of this figure. Microgrids can bring economic, sustainability and technical benefits. In the UK, the growth is being driven by a number of factors.
The Drive to Net Zero
Government targets for a low carbon economy are among the reasons for microgrid growth. The UK has committed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, reducing by 78% by 2035, compared with 1990 levels. The government has set a target for all the UK’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2035. All new homes and building developments in England are also required by law to have electric vehicle (EV) charging points installed. This is a key feature of a SNRG MicroGrid.
A recent survey of 200 large UK businesses revealed that energy prices are now their biggest concern. More than half confirmed that sustainability measures, such as energy efficiency, are still their most important investment priority. Nine in ten businesses, however, were concerned about the potential cost impact of funding the low-carbon transition.
Funding for green business schemes is available through Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) financing, also known as sustainability linked lending. Lenders are increasingly keen to meet their own ESG objectives as the market moves to investing in cleaner, greener technologies. There is also the belief that projects with sustainability at their core are more likely to be better prepared for future risks – and opportunities.
Taking Back Control
Given volatile global energy wholesale markets, businesses are increasingly seeking to reduce financial risks, and take on greater control of their energy costs. A microgrid solution helps them achieve this.
Security, reliance and resilience are major factors in future business strategies. Taking power from the national grid means that power interruptions are far more likely to occur, as imbalances in the system, for example caused by storms, could have a serious effect on electricity supply and costs for a wide area – and for a long time.
Time is money, but it is also a worry where security is concerned.
Increasing reliance on technologies like wireless cloud computing raises the prospect of being susceptible to cyber-attacks. Many corporations require and demand a secure network with a 24-hour power supply. Microgrids are self-sustaining or can be designed to disconnect from the grid in island mode. This gives them higher immunity to external power problems and prices spikes, versus to external power problems on long distance generation, transmission and distribution.
Tim Wynn-Jones, SNRG Business Development Director for Industrial & Commercial, explains: “As the UK moves towards an all-electric net-zero future, smart microgrids offer UK businesses a unique opportunity to reduce cost, carbon and complexity.”
Contact him at [email protected] to find out more about how a SNRG SmartGrid can help your business.