Five reasons the Smart Grid will save business money

Energy savings are possible for most businesses right now, and the technology exists today to make the difference. With the advent of the Smart Grid comes an opportunity for businesses to further drive down energy costs.

01/05/2011


Smart GridToday, most businesses have clear insight into IT spend or capital expenditures, but when asked about energy costs, it’s typically not on their radar. Overall, 30% energy savings are possible for most businesses right now. The technology exists today to make a difference, and with the advent of the Smart Grid comes an opportunity for businesses to further drive down energy costs.

Here are a few benefits businesses can look forward to reaping with the Smart Grid:

  • Tackling rising energy costs – With energy use expected to grow by 22% by 2030, costs for electrical energy will continue to rise. But the Smart Grid can provide a tangible benefit to the smart consumer if they integrate strategies to unlock potential revenue streams associated with their energy consumption. In order to see results, consumers must take an active role in their energy use, dedicating time and resources to manage it effectively. While this may be viewed as an upfront investment, savings will very quickly follow.
  • Active energy management – Every business owner at some point has looked at their utility bill and with a puzzled looked, tried to make sense of it. Often it can be complicated to understand what you’re paying for and why.  As “time of use” rates become more common in the marketplace, energy users are incentivized to change their energy use behavior. As a result, utility bills are based on usage and the prevailing rate at that moment, giving businesses a choice as to when and how much they use and pay – enabling tangible savings for the bottom line.

  • Driving ROI on renewable energy investments – Increasingly businesses are considering renewable energy resources as part of their energy strategy. In more and more markets, these projects are realistic investments as renewables approach grid parity. Many people are already reaping the benefits of power purchase agreements and financial tax incentives for renewable energy investments at their site. What is important is that energy generated is accounted for at the site in order to understand the true ROI of these projects over time.
  • Real-time grid management – With Demand Response (DR) programs available through the Smart Grid, utilities can actively manage peak electrical energy consumption in response to supply conditions.  Customers who have the option of shedding loads in response to a utility request can enroll in DR programs and get paid. In fact, over $2 billion in payments were issued to DR program participants last year alone making these programs a valuable revenue stream for any business. Additionally, customers who integrate their DR actions into a building management system are able to minimize disruptions to service and respond to utility requests sooner, which substantially increases their earning potential.
  • Efficient charging solutions and smarter infrastructure – With the development of the Smart Grid comes the opportunity to make everything from our energy bills and facilities to cars more intelligent. For example, the owner of a commercial fleet service can install charging solutions that offer convenient and secure access to electrical energy for their transportation fleet, driving down their cost of operation. As electrical vehicles and charging options become more common, their energy storage potential can be utilized. For example, cars will be charged only when energy rates are at the lowest for the day.

With the potential of the Smart Grid, as with any new opportunity, also come risks. Education on ongoing changes to legislation and technology developments is key for any business to make the most of the Smart Grid.



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