In the past, retail energy buyers and providers often considered energy procurement an entirely separate activity from other energy management practices like implementing energy efficiency and distributed generation. When Constellation Energy CEO Joe Nigro addressed the recent DNV GL Retail Energy Executive Forum, according to the website Finances, he described how retail energy providers need to embrace new technologies that customers want, not see them as disruptive to the retail business model. He explained how retailers can offer not just energy efficiency but solar, energy storage, combined heat and power and other technologies – and how smart grid technologies are enabling customers to view their energy consumption in a more sophisticated light.
In a white paper on Integrated Energy Solutions, ConEdison Solutions recommends how businesses and institutions should integrate procurement into their broader energy management plans. The paper recommends a three-step approach:
- Assessment – Conduct energy audits based on a combination of site walk-throughs and collect energy consumption data, which should identify energy efficiency measures like lighting or equipment upgrades.
- Planning – Analyze consumption patterns from different buildings and systems, and develop appropriate strategies, which can involve energy efficiency measures, distributed generation, operational changes (including demand response) and pricing that aligns with usage patterns.
- Implementation – Implement measures identified during the planning process using a phased approach that prioritizes the most cost-effective measures as well as the system controls needed for later upgrades.
This type of integrated, phased approach is the best way for companies to minimize their energy costs, says ConEdison Solutions.