How Data Will Play a Major Role in Solving the Global Energy Crisis
It could be argued that never before in our global history has there been so many Governments, organisations, businesses and individuals invested in developing sustainable energy solutions, as there is right now.
While the continued push toward Net Zero by 2050 is a key motivator, so too is the global energy crisis, which is continuing to have an impact on economies, government policies and consumers world-wide.
The International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2022 found the energy crisis is delivering a shock of ‘unprecedented breadth and complexity’, especially in the markets for natural gas, coal and electricity, while also highlighting the fragility and unsustainability of the current global energy system.
Such is the push to encourage change in energy consumption, some Governments are introducing legislation to force businesses into taking action.
In the UK for example, the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme requires large businesses to measure their energy consumption and identify areas in which energy savings can be made, with the next audit due at the end of this year.
In order to successfully enact change however, companies first need to understand their individual energy profile, and get a complete picture of consumption, costs and any potential waste.
I believe that most companies don’t understand exactly how much data currently exists within their company devices and equipment, nor what they can do with it.
Added to this, is the often out-dated ways of capturing or reading various data elements, such as run time or overall energy consumption, and you start to understand why businesses don’t have a complete and accurate picture of how much energy they’re using, and how to reduce it.
Accessing basic data through a remote analogue meter that requires a manual reading is not enough – companies can and should have immediate and accurate readings on how devices and equipment are operating, when peak loads are occurring, whether outside environmental factors are having an impact, or whether there are trends emerging in how energy is consumed.
Data can be harnessed to provide a real-time, holistic view of the efficiency of equipment, identify periods of peak load and act as a sentinel system at the very core of operations.
It’s from here that truly informed business decisions can be made to implement and measure sustainable change.
By knowing when peak energy-use is occurring, changes can be made to spread the load, for example.
Having knowledge of equipment efficiency allows for improved maintenance schedules and offers the potential to reduce both energy and financial waste, as equipment can be replaced in a timely manner as technology advances or before devices become significantly inefficient.
Even simply knowing that equipment is operating at any given moment allows businesses to have complete oversight into whether automated shut-off and standby programs are working as they’re supposed to.
Beyond energy reduction, there are added benefits of cost and time efficiencies, as rudimentary data collection and equipment monitoring practices are streamlined and optimized.
Further to this is the ability to assess the true impact of sustainability measures, as real-time data is able to accurately demonstrate energy and emissions reduction over time.
As the cost of producing and using energy continues to rise, businesses will face increasing pressure from consumers, shareholders, and governments to implement measures and technology to reduce their energy use.
The International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2022 noted that the global energy crisis is causing profound and long-lasting changes, ‘that have the potential to hasten the transition to a more sustainable and secure energy system’.
Data-monitoring technology offers the potential to do just that, creating profound – even disruptive change – while also assisting in the transitioning to a cleaner, more secure energy future.