The convergence of clean energy technology, new ways of extracting energy resources (like fracking), and environmental imperatives (like global warming) have turned conventional energy wisdom on its head. Adding in the deregulation of the utility industry means the U.S. and other regional energy markets are seeing a rolling landscape of changing relationships between energy generators, transmission and distribution entities, and regulators.
One major result has been the “unbundling” of energy services. Companies like Kaiser Permanente and Apple are going “off-grid” to generate their own electricity from private solar farms. Fleets of electric vehicles are fueling on premise and never visiting a gas station. Leading companies are “rolling their own,” remixing their electricity from a variety of sources including onsite co-generation and timeshared generation facilities.
In an increasingly diverse and connected environment, energy data is emerging as the key ingredient to high performance in three major ways.
Optimization – Given the relative importance of the energy spend and opportunities for savings that can range from 10-40%, energy data plays a critical role in optimizing your energy performance and spend. It’s increasingly easy to aggregate energy use and expenditures across the enterprise. Doing so allows stakeholders to contribute to innovating on energy use across the whole organization.
Expansion – Your company’s approach to energy can overlap in very profitable ways with your suppliers’ and customers’ energy and sustainability needs. On the supply side, energy data enables innovative new partnerships with energy providers and other energy intensive vendors. For example, as the cost of transmission and distribution (“T&D”) rises to over 60% of most energy bills, your internal efforts to cut energy costs can reduce stress in local grids and save tens of millions of dollars.
On the customer end, ask how the products you sell can, through an energy lens, expand your relationship with your customers. As a supplier to customers like Walmart or others, reporting your efficiency gains can help them progress on their sustainability goals or on the promises they’ve made to their customers.
Energy data can flow back from customers as well. With the right touchpoints, you can deliver new value to your existing customers. One example is how cable and phone companies are evolving from telecom utilities into energy utility competitors going after parts of their customers’ energy spend.
Modernization – If you’re already in an energy business, energy data provides the path to avoiding unproductive disruption and making hay in the new energy economy.
Disaggregation and new competition are a given. Collect your data and use it as a test for new business models. If you make energy meters, model yourself after Xerox who moved from the copier business to selling document services. How can you shift from selling things to selling value and services?
For many businesses, energy is the second or third highest expense they face. It’s a recurring and largely uncontrollable expense. Energy prices fluctuate in what can appear to be random ways, and total energy expenditures seem married to real estate and capital decisions that are anything but real time. Many businesses aren’t aware that they may be spending up to twice as much on HR and capital expenditures related to energy and energy consuming equipment.
Even if a company has its energy spend well in hand, we’re entering a radically new environment for energy management, and the magnitude of the existing spend is an opportunity for improving some of the organization’s most important metrics.
Whether you’re trying to optimize your energy use, grow your business, or evolve a 21st-century energy business, transparent and available energy data could be the answer.
We can help you discover that next step in your evolution.