By Shashank Sane
Clean energy technology is becoming integral to today’s business operations, but are businesses getting as much from their energy assets as they can? Intelligent design and operation of an energy system can ensure that, when it comes to your onsite energy infrastructure, 1 + 1 equals more than 2.
Onsite energy assets, or distributed energy resources like solar generation and battery storage, have become more affordable, contributing to their growing ubiquity among utilities and businesses. Continued cost declines, coupled with increasing pressure from consumers for businesses to be more sustainable, will only increase the pace of growth of distributed energy resource deployments. In fact, a recent Navigant report estimates that the amount of energy produced by distributed energy resources will more than double by 2028. For businesses to achieve the full potential of these soon-to-be-installed onsite energy assets, they have to stop treating them as individual components, and start recognizing them as building blocks of an integrated system.
In an integrated energy system, each component is designed based on both its own operating characteristics and how it will interact with everything else on the site. Once the system is fully operational, a real-time controller ensures that each asset works in coordination with all other assets, based on the best (then-current) information. The result is an energy system that is designed, built, and operated without unnecessary and costly duplication because it’s selecting the right asset to meet demand at the right time. Energy decisions are made in real time through tracking site-specific information, combined with technical specifications and market inputs. When fully embraced, the energy system is assimilated into the overall site operation, which leads to more efficient business strategies. Not only are integrated energy systems helping businesses meet financial goals, they are key in responding to consumer demand for sustainability.
Consider the following examples:
Though an integrated system approach is the logical evolution of distributed energy resources and onsite energy generation, the methodology is a new way of thinking about energy procurement and operation. The good news is that integrated systems rely on readily available technology. It’s also relatively painless to install; service providers are making these deployments much less daunting than may be expected. Indeed, as more and more businesses turn to integrated systems to streamline their existing power usage and improve their results, these systems will become as commonplace as those they are beginning to replace.
Service providers specializing in integrated systems can help businesses, facility, and fleet managers modernize and deploy their energy resources more effectively. These providers can leverage their energy intelligence to position their customers on the cutting edge of cost-effective, resilient, and sustainable energy technology deployment. The returns on this approach will be well worth it, simultaneously helping a business’s bottom line and promoting stewardship of the world we all inhabit.
Shashank Sane is Senior Vice President and Head of Invenergy Edge. Invenergy Edge is a subsidiary of Invenergy, a leading privately held, global developer and operator of sustainable energy solutions.
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