Sustainable energy planning is a strategic imperative for all today’s businesses. Challenges are global and more complex, and require integration of energy considerations into the full range of planning, development, and operational activities. As we are aiming for an uninterrupted energy flow it is important to recognize the distinct role of energy sustainability in overall energy considerations. While these considerations include sustainable energy, they also include doing more with less, doing the project right, and doing the right project.
Understanding energy infrastructure
Understanding of existing energy conditions is essential. When followed by considerations of the future plans, regulatory landscape, innovations in technology and trends, that knowledge will form a solid basis for a development of a strategy. Developing a long term energy management plan is significant, particularly for versatile and complex industrial facilities and infrastructure.
Climate change and energy efficiency has emerged as one of the most important energy and economic policy issues of the 21st century. Energy efficiency has been commonly accepted as an attractive approach to reducing GHG emissions and as response to the resources depletion. With fossil fuels being depleted, growing demand for power, and environmental challenges, energy efficiency seems inevitable and natural way to mitigate our fundamental energy struggles. The struggles also include aging infrastructure, deficiency in energy storage and resiliency, closures of existing power plants, and limitations of renewable generations.
“U.S. economic output expanded more than three times since 1970 while demand for energy grew only 50%.”
— ACEEE, Laitner et al. “Long-Term Energy Efficiency Potential”
Energy efficiency is extremely important but it’s only part of the solution. Why?
Energy efficiency saves money but employing energy efficiency alone is like cutting your monthly budget without adding to your paycheck.
Today’s businesses can no longer rely solely on utilities.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that between 2012 and 2020, about 60 GW of coal-fired capacity is projected to retire mainly due to environmental regulations. Electric utilities and policymakers have been struggling to find ways to compensate for power plants shutting down.
The energy production landscape has changed dramatically in recent years, not only in the U.S. but also in other countries.
In closing the energy gap, both the demand and the supply side need to be addressed concurrently. Energy efficiency, demand response, renewables, and micro-grids play a key role in helping to diversify and mitigate risks for our power supply future. Other factors include the continuing implementation of conservation measures, behaviors, and investments in clean energy generation and innovation.