Proactive energy measures crucial to meeting demand this winter
Energy managers in the manufacturing and cold chain sectors are being urged to begin winter production planning earlier than usual this year as supply chain delays and energy uncertainty continue.
The National Grid is currently expecting energy margins to be higher this winter than last, with a base case of 4.8 GW compared to last years’ 3.7GW. However, the announcement that two coal plants are being decommissioned and extension of the demand flexibility service for heavy industry continue to put into question the grid’s winter preparedness.
Ruth Martin, Manufacturing Sector Lead at Cold Chain Federation member Aggreko is warning of the implications this will have for manufacturers aiming to procure additional on-site power solutions to support a spike in demand this winter.
Ruth said: “Manufacturers gearing up for a jump in production during the winter months and sourcing additional power to support this is an established practice, one that has served the sector well in recent years. However, due to potential grid energy shortages and a surge in demand for additional equipment, plans may be hindered.
“As manufacturers look to leverage decentralised power, established supply chains may be unable to cope, potentially leaving sites struggling to source last-minute supplies. Managers should therefore begin making winter plans earlier than usual to ensure their sites can be as productive as possible this winter – regardless of external power problems.”
A revised approach to decentralisation was found to be the route of best improving security of supply and lowering energy usage in Aggreko’s recent Race to Resilience report. The study highlights microgrids, gas-powered generators, combined heat and power, and energy storage as the bridging solutions most capable of tackling today’s energy challenges.
Ruth is therefore advising manufacturers to consult expert suppliers and ensure winter energy models can not only be installed in-time but are designed to improve energy resilience and efficiency.
She concluded, “Ongoing news surrounding the National Grid is compounding manufacturers’ energy troubles. An additional, indirect consequence of this is a potential supply chain squeeze resulting from sector-wide uncertainty.
“Here, partnering with suppliers earlier in the year than usual will ensure manufacturers can sidestep delays and disruption for a reliable power supply. What’s more, by avoiding supply difficulties and ensuring proper discussions can be held, sites will be best-placed to install innovative power solutions, designed to best cater to their energy needs.”
Click here for more information on Aggreko’s decentralised energy models. https://electricalreview.co.uk/2023/06/26/national-grid-prepares-for-an-easier-winter-in-2023-24/  https://news.sky.com/story/no-emergency-coal-fired-power-for-national-grid-to-keep-the-lights-on-12911040  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2023/06/17/national-grid-blackout-prevention-plan-business-energy-use/
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