On a domestic level, the term ‘smart energy initiatives’ to most people refers to the Government’s commitment to installing smart meters in all homes across the UK by 2020. Such systems have been widely used in industry for some time, where wholesale energy usage has to be managed with more discipline and specific tariffs, but now the concept is being rolled out further.
Smart meters can be read external to the home and hence, bills are no longer based on estimated usage, you only pay for the gas and electricity you actually use, and you can keep track of what you are using and how much you owe by monitoring your energy usage in simple, real time terms.
The goal of course is to reduce emissions and use energy more efficiently, and for the domestic user to lower their bills. The same disciplines apply to commercial organisations and industry, but on a national scale ‘smart energy initiatives’ have taken on a much larger significance and involve far more investment.
More and more technologies are being developed that allow a more efficient spend on utilities, but more importantly a reduced usage of energy sources. It is not just about technologies of course, but also about disciplines, using energy better and more efficiently, and many initiatives are based on removing the human element from energy usage by making systems ‘smarter’.
In 2015 the Government’s Autumn Statement committed to doubling the UK’s spend on energy innovation projects, with the aim being that by 2021 this spend would be over £400million per year. This investment targets initiatives across the energy sector including:
Renewables – The UK is uniquely placed to lead on off shore wind innovations and significant investment is aimed at matching industry challenges with industry solutions.
Smart Energy Systems – Providing flexibility of trading in the UK electricity market
Nuclear innovations – Including research into nuclear fuels and developing safer and more efficient nuclear reactor designs. Plus, research into recycling processes and into nuclear fusion, a process that delivers cleaner inexhaustible energy. This is currently less developed but represents a field of research that could have global implications.
Low carbon industries – Investment of £9.2million into a four year research programme to find industry specific solutions for energy efficiency, with the aim of strengthening the UK supply chain and reducing energy costs to UK industry.
Heating technologies – A £25million investment program to explore the potential use of hydrogen gas for heating of UK homes and businesses, with the aim of defining a quality standard and trialling domestic and commercial appliances. Also, investing nearly £10million in smart heating systems, including work with local authorities on low energy plans.
It is clear that much can still be done to improve our smart energy usage, and the next few years will see significant improvements. But already, there is plenty that a standard household or a small, medium or large commercial business can do to manage energy better.
Robinsons have a team of qualified experts, who can advise on renewable energies, low carbon usage and better discipline in monitoring and managing everyday energy usage, so call us today and we can advise you on how to make improvements to suit your business and see immediate results. Click here to contact us.