How to master your energy transition to carbon neutrality
Many companies in the UK are planning to decarbonise their production facilities. This is important when considering two-thirds of emissions are energy-driven. However, there are several risks businesses need to consider as part of their long-term decarbonisation strategy, such as rising energy prices, identifying and accessing the capital required to make the transition to net zero, and the potential for commodity prices to become even more volatile. If an energy strategy is not a core part of a company’s operating business yet, navigating these challenges could make achieving net zero more difficult.
A consideration: Electrification to decarbonise businesses
While decarbonisation remains to be a priority for many businesses, ambitious goals can sometimes be countered by a lack of energy specific know-how and implementation expertise. So, how can decarbonisation be achieved? One starting point is an increased usage of electricity, which can help to reduce emissions directly. Additional electrification may also help to reduce costs as electrical equipment is less costly and more reliable at many industrial applications. Moreover, electrification as part of a diversified energy portfolio management offers possibilities of using advantages of a market with a different structure than gas. However, to take these advantages, you need to not only understand the market mechanisms of electricity, but also consider storage capacities, either on the electrical side or the steam side of your process.
But what if electricity isn’t a suitable replacement?. In case you need high-temperature heat or steam what might be the alternatives to natural gas? Hydrogen could be an option, but only if a reliable supply and connection to the hydrogen grid combined with long-term storage will be available. Biofuels might also be a way forward as well as carbon capture and storage could be an option.
Düsseldorf-based Uniper is an international energy company with activities in more than 40 countries. With around 7,000 employees, it makes an important contribution to security of supply in Europe. Uniper’s core businesses are power generation in Europe, global energy trading, and a broad gas portfolio. Uniper procures gas – including liquefied natural gas (LNG) – and other energy sources on global markets. The company owns and operates gas storage facilities with a capacity of more than 7 billion cubic meters. Uniper plans for its 22.5 GW of installed power-generating capacity in Europe to be carbon-neutral by 2035. The company already ranks among Europe’s largest operators of hydroelectric plants and intends to further expand solar and wind energy, which are essential for a more sustainable and autonomous future
All these various options make it difficult to find a silver bullet for decarbonisation. Instead, different approaches must be combined in practice. And this not only applies to electrification, but also to other options such as fuel diversification or the recycling of waste streams.
Time to accelerate your decarbonisation journey
It couldn’t be clearer that companies will have to scrutinise their energy strategies to kick-start their decarbonisation journey. To ensure a secure and reliable supply of energy, clean gas, energy storage and other flexible solutions must be explored alongside renewable energy solutions. In addition to wind turbines and solar collectors, one possibility could be highly efficient gas-fired combined heat and power plants, which generate heat and electricity simultaneously, and can achieve efficiencies of up to 90 percent. These facilities are particularly suitable for supplementing a company’s own energy supply and effectively reducing CO2 emissions.
Still the question of financing remains – because in addition to expertise and patience, the energy transition requires significant investment. Uniper can help secure financing and act as a developer, implementing and operating low-carbon or carbon-free energy systems together with industry.
Given all of these complex considerations, companies are actively seeking out advice and assistance. This is where the experience of utilities like Uniper in the energy market and their expertise in energy generation can be of great benefit for businesses. Keeping this in mind I am convinced that partnership is the key to your successful energy transition to a net zero future.
Mechanical Engineer, Jeff Parr-May prides himself in a longstanding career in the energy sector. Since Jeff joined Uniper he is helping Uniper customers deal with the many challenges of their inevitable energy transition to carbon neutrality.