Groom Energy Solutions released a report, which finds that no single system, despite vendor claims, will meet all energy management needs at corporate and site levels.
Multiple factors are driving the need for companies to better manage their purchase and use of energy in their businesses. These include (1) large energy consumption and its relationship to utility peak usage, (2) pressure to reduce carbon emissions, and (3) the desire to identify energy savings opportunities. With these varied goals, the term “energy management” can refer to anything from the procurement of electricity, to utility bill analysis, to the implementation of a building management system, according to Groom Energy’s report “2013 Enterprise Smart Grid, with a Corporate Buyers’ Guide for Energy Management Software,” which offers these recommendations for managers:
- When evaluating a particular vendor solution, managers should focus on the functional needs within their industry type and a vendor’s installed base. Solutions differ significantly by industry vertical (such as retail or heavy manufacturing).
- Solutions that provide visibility are very different from solutions that provide visibility and control; clearly understand your needs around this critical point. Prioritize business problem and users.
- Despite the trend of vendors broadening their product lines, many customer needs are site-and load-specific and are served by best-of-breed vendor applications.
- Focus on the business outcome that you need for each set of user. Examples include reporting facility use variance and trends, specific equipment variances, and full-blown activity-based energy costing.
The report is based on 68 interviews with corporate energy, facility and sustainability managers, and vendors and on an online survey of 158 companies.
The report also defines Enterprise Smart Grid (ESG) as the integration of energy metering, hardware and software by organizations seeking visibility, control and management of their energy consumption. According to Groom Energy’s research, ESG is a $6.2 billion market in 2013 and is projected to grow 30 percent per year over the next four years.
The report names the following 10 Enterprise Smart Grid Leaders (listed alphabetically) based on the strength of product, financial stability of the company, financial payback of solution, number of customers, sales momentum in the last 18 months and product vision:
- EFT Energy
- eSight Energy
- Phoenix Energy Technologies
- Schneider Electric
Other findings from the interviews and research are:
- Larger vendors are beginning to dominate through acquisitions and broader offerings, while many venture-backed startups struggle.
- The overall market for ESG-related offerings remains promising, but growth slowed a bit from 40 percent to 15 percent due to flat energy prices and slower than anticipated economic growth.
- Energy savings remains the primary driver for corporate ESG investment in projects, people and process.
- Vendor awareness by corporate leaders remains low with no single vendor recognized more than 31 percent of survey respondents.
- Software that actually controls equipment has the highest ROI.
- The installed cost of submeters for visibility of energy consumption has fallen 30 percent in the last two years as more products come to the market and more technicians are trained to install submeters.