Dr. Alex Mardapittas, CEO of leading energy storage and voltage optimisation brand Powerstar, discusses the importance of multifaceted technologies as a way to maximise and future proof energy efficiency investments.
Investments into energy efficiency solutions continue to become increasingly important to businesses as energy costs continue to rise and more legislation, regulations and government incentives are established to tackle CO2 emissions and aid the UK’s transition into a low carbon economy.
Newer innovations, such as energy storage, feature regularly in the news and promise many advantages but this does not preclude the more established technologies, like voltage optimisation (VO) from being a valuable solution.
Despite not being a new technology, voltage optimisation is still an effective way for a business to reduce its energy consumption and consequently, carbon emissions, whilst offering benefits such as improvements to Power Factor and harmonics.
Voltage optimisation was developed to optimise power from the National Grid, which is generally supplied at a higher voltage than necessary. The average supply delivered within the UK is 242V, but can be as high as 253V whilst the optimum for most electrical equipment sits around 220V due to design characteristics. VO reduces this oversupply to a more favourable level, therefore preventing the problems typically associated with excessive voltage.
Problems caused from overvoltage can be costly, both in terms of financials and opportunity. From ongoing costs such as higher than necessary electricity bills to the increased replacement investment as the lifespan of electrical equipment decreases due to excessive strain. The avoidable inconveniences caused result in wasted energy and higher carbon emissions, an unattractive proposition for any business attempting to conform to CSR.
Implementing VO eases these problems by lowering the incoming voltage to an optimal level. Generally speaking there are two types of voltage optimisation systems, fixed and electronic-dynamic. Fixed systems reduce the incoming voltage by a predetermined set amount, whereas electronic-dynamic systems dynamically alter the incoming voltage level to provide a stabilised voltage to unstable supplies. VO can be applied to almost every sector and offer all the aforementioned advantages, with savings even possible on newer plant equipment.
Aside from voltage optimisation, the more modern and arguably desirable technology experiencing growth in the energy efficiency market is battery-based energy storage. This technology has the capability to store energy from the National Grid during the cheaper, low demand tariffs or directly from renewable sources in order to discharge when required.
The most well-known benefit of battery-based energy storage technology is its ability to deliver cost savings. By using stored energy during peak tariffs facilities can significantly reduce Distribution Use of System (DUoS) and Transmission Use of System (TUNoS) charges, of which by 2020 are expected to account for 40% of a company’s electricity bill.
Energy storage technologies also allow companies to generate additional revenue by helping businesses partake in grid contracts, such as Demand Side Response (DSR) schemes which are provided to businesses by the National Grid for helping to balance demand.
Although, perhaps the most important benefit that more specialist energy storage solutions can provide is full Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) capabilities. UPS is a reliable and responsive form of backup and is quickly becoming an important requirement for many companies across the UK due to the fact that the security of supply is decreasing as latest statistics have revealed that 986 blackouts or brownouts occurred throughout 2016, a 46% increase on the 2015 rates.
UPS functionality in systems such as Powerstar’s energy storage solution VIRTUE, affords facility managers the confidence that operations won’t be affected by a loss of power by knowing that when the support is triggered, the batteries will respond automatically within a three-millisecond timeframe, providing electricity to the sensitive load during a period of up to two hours. This not only offers security of supply, it also eliminates costly shutdown periods, potentially wasted stock and valuable human resource to get the systems back online.
In the case of Powerstar, both the mentioned technologies can be combined to deliver a tailored complete energy saving solution to facility managers that offers power resilience, process optimisation, harmonic reduction, power quality improvements and an additional source of revenue.
In order to maximise the benefits of any energy efficiency solution, it is vital that the supplier understands the bespoke requirements of a facility. Any party deliberating installing a system should always ensure the supplier can deliver a concept to completion service, with full energy analysis and monitoring of a site’s electrical supply to ensure the delivery of a fit for purpose solution designed, developed and commissioned with the customers’ needs in mind.
Powerstar is a market leader in the industry, delivering a range of bespoke solutions that are designed and manufactured in the UK. For more information visit the Powerstar website at www.powerstar.com