Making sense of the emissions bandwagon

Image: Getty

Image: Getty

Energy management technologies are being adopted by companies these days with rising costs, stricter regulations and the desire to have a sustainable image.
Syed Shah looks at some of these trends.

SOMETIMES it is a genuine drive to reduce carbon dioxide (greenhouse gases in general)
emissions.

At other times, it is purely to reduce costs and maximise bottom-
line. Generally, it is always linked to rising energy costs and a competitive marketplace plus possible penalties (depending where one is) on atmospheric emissions.

In other words, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship where companies get to save costs and the environment gets to see a better tomorrow.

Other reasons also include corporate image in regards to public perception but it is more than often a combination of a single strong primary motivation and a few secondary drivers that varies from region to region.

Analyst perspectives, government actions
With energy accounting for a significant portion of the operating costs within many industries, professional services consultants Accenture talks about five actions
to manage costs effectively and achieve sustainable business model
improvements.

These include:
1. Think of margins, not just production
2. Scrutinise costs, and focus on controlling their drivers
3. Concentrate on improving baseline production
4. Share risks and rewards with suppliers
5. Change one’s culture with greater emphasis on planning,
accountability and service quality.

Ultimately, energy management swirls around many factors – peak shaving, load shedding, fuel switching, abnormal situation management, interruptible energy
supplies, real-time optimisation, advanced process control, forward planning, captive power production and the list goes on.

At other times, it requires a call to action by the powers that be to drive the trends towards sustainability in businesses.

Australia’s previous prime minister, Tony Abbott, promised that his first act in government would be to abolish the ruling Labor government’s carbon tax introduced previously by former PM Julia Gillard in 2014.

In place of a market means for fighting action, Abbott wanted to allocate A$3 billion on “inducements” for big carbon emitters to clean up their acts over the next four years
following implementation.

Moving forward, the current prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is moving ahead with the 2030 reductions of emissions scheme with a target 26 to 28 per cent reductions based on 2005 levels after the 2015 UN Paris Climate Conference.

Initiatives from the industry
In the manufacturing space, familiar manufacturing names like Siemens,
Sandvik, Schaeffler, Schneider amongst many others, have embarked strongly on corporate social responsibility (CSR) visions for the products and services suites they are
offering customers – simply because of the profitability of offering energy efficient tools to manage operations to help customers who are down the sustainability route themselves with their own products.

Schneider Electric, recently introduced ‘Continuous Efficiency’, a suite of managed services and software that combines the knowledge of its experts with sophisticated tools and technology.

Schneider Electric says that the mix of onsite and remote support, as well as software, allows companies to uncover savings opportunities, implement changes at both the site
and enterprise level, and constantly refine performance.

“Mounting pressure to reduce operating costs, coupled with shareholder and customer desire for improved sustainability, has made energy management a priority for
companies,” said James Potach, senior vice president of energy and sustainability services at Schneider Electric.

“However, organisations are typically presented with services or technology solutions. And the answer for complex operations is often ‘both.’”

Process industries software and services provider Aspen Technology, recently announced that Norwegian energy company Statoil Norway selected AspenTech’s aspenONE
(MES) manufacturing execution systems as its (IMS) information manufacturing systems technology standard.

Josh Fredberg, senior vice president, products & marketing, AspenTech was quoted as saying the partnership was formed to “drive performance improvements and save
millions of dollars in cost reductions” by presumably streamlining energy heavy applications with advanced visualisation and analysis of its processing plants.