Despite tech giants like Google setting 100% renewable energy targets, and corporate buyers signing up for five gigawatts of new solar and wind capacity in 2017 alone, there’s still lots of scope for the rest of the private sector to shift its energy behaviour, according to a new study by Centrica Business Solutions.
“Despite the headlines about bold renewable goals and organizations committing to deeper sustainability missions, comprehensive energy strategy continues to be a struggle even for large energy users,” Greentech Media reports, in a post sponsored by Centrica. “One in three organizations are thinking about how energy can contribute to business growth, drive deeper efficiencies, and reduce risk. And yet, the study found that more than half of businesses identified themselves in the ‘least advanced’ category when it comes to energy strategy, while fewer than 10% considered themselves ‘most advanced’.”
Which adds up to “a pretty sizable disconnect between businesses that would like to approach energy differently and those that actually do.”
“It’s not that they don’t have the interest,” said Dan Svejnar, Centrica vice president and head of commercial North America. “It’s just that they don’t have the resources and time.”
Despite a record pace of change across the energy sector, “many corporate and municipal leaders still see energy as a fixed cost of doing business, and not necessarily an asset to be flexed,” Greentech explains. But “in many power markets and utility territories, there are increasing options to monetize behind-the-meter assets that did not exist even five years ago.”
The post points to options like advanced demand response, flexible backup power, microgrids, virtual power plants, renewable procurement, and innovative financing as options that businesses can tap into without deep expertise in those areas, as long as they have a service provider to match a tailored system to their specific needs.
“Many businesses are focused on more traditional methods of adding revenue streams or cost-cutting in their business, and they just aren’t thinking about using energy in this way,” Svejnar told Greentech. “To date, the industry and product innovation has largely been driven by various incentives, such as utility requests for proposals and large corporate goals.” But in future, “simplified products will be key to engage the long tail of less-sophisticated customers that want to take part in the distributed energy transition.”