Balancing energy in your business

In previous arguments the Zero Waste community has been either instructed or advised that revenues from electricity generation using waste materials have no economic benefit, or are too little in the amount of return to be feasible. Other reported arguments are that the material products from the waste stream process have a significantly higher value than generation revenue. Those assumptions can be assumed to be no longer relevant if we approach the problems in a different light. Nor should we discount that technology will advance many techniques and the risk of each decision should be taken on a case by case and/or site by site basis.

If you consider the traditional energy procurement approach: You enter into a standard contract agreement, you concede the terms of your connection conditions and may actually be penalized if you fail to take the load assignment. The problem from this perspective is the supply side is assumed the only legitimate interest in providing energy security. The concept of energy is more legitimate if you refer to the supply and demand balance.

All community is affected by the rising cost of energy, and a number of specialist companies are offering products that approach the three essential considerations in the cost of energy: The energy price, the delivery cost and the carbon price. Something is being done and the “Power of Choice” is doing what it can to address the issues.

The reasons to accept that change is possible is the AEMC and the Senate are the essential bodies that will influence and inform how the implementation of an effective balancing of the National Electricity Market (NEM) and that Demand Participation is the result that is saving $billions for the community, and continuous saving thereafter. If you think this is a relatively new idea, the reality is under the term Demand Response (DR): Alan Fels, Chair of ACCC, on 19 November 2001 made a considerable issue the balancing equation; The Parer Review 2002 presented “Towards A Truly National And Efficient Energy Market”; The EUAA April 2004 presented “Trial of a Demand Side Response Facility for the National Electricity Market”; The ERIG Review November 2006 advocated “Review of Energy Related Financial Markets”; AEMC (formerly by NEMCO) carried Stages 1 & 2 of the Demand Side Participation Review and Stage 3 is in progress.

What does this means if you want to design or reengineer your process products under carbon constraints? On the 1st July 2012 some 250 Australian businesses became lawfully liable to pay $23 for every tonne of CO2e emitted from ‘operational controlled’ facilities emitting 25,000 tonnes or more of scope 1 Greenhouse Gas emissions. A recent survey by the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) revealed that only one third of the organisations surveyed agreed or strongly agreed with the question “My organisation is prepared for the implications of the carbon tax”. It follows that an organisations’ total carbon capabilities are critical to creating the transformational business response necessary to not only remain competitive in the short term, but to prosper in the long term. The process for creating this outcome is heavily dependent on having essential carbon management knowledge and skills in place, and an awareness of the commercial & competitive impacts under the carbon pricing mechanism. Small to medium enterprise (SME) are not a liable entity, at the time of writing and where you may not have as yet assessed the impact of the carbon price, you should be aware the large liable businesses pass the cost down through the supply chain.
The supply chain and operating costs will be having an impact on all consumers and suppliers. We know government assistance programs are available to help mitigate the cost pressures & fund critical investment in areas such as energy efficiency. What we do additionally can be our benefit in reducing all manner of waste including energy and energy products.

On 17 October 2012 the Clean Energy Regulator issued a report, and as a selective reference, said that the year ahead is focused on amongst other things ecological sustainable development and that will favour the innovators prepared to rethink business as usual. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) also provides R&D incentives offsets for those groups, and the Productivity Commission encourages rethinking.

It might be time, if you have not already, consider curtailment opportunities, renewable generation, cogeneration or trigeneration (albeit some high profile projects may well prove to be an embarrassment for overblown claims), or combinations of technologies with emphasis on energy savings.

CO2Land org is aware of licensed energy retailers that are operating where you will be rewarded for sharing risk in the energy price, similar companies also can offer demand incentives that you might also have though less than likely. In this scenario at least one retailer will individually profile the site and make an offer for the output or develop a hybrid contract to suit.

Some of the products developed or can be adaptive to your needs to be developed is:

  1. For generators:

Short term grid balancing, renewable and base load, hedging strategies, Greenpower.

  1. Auto load management with shed load or transfer to generator capability
  2. Price substitution, Load shed offers.
  3. Structured options according to risk tolerance and managed adjustments.

The message is you are no longer obliged with the status quo as a price taker, and you can start the discussion and work for what works for you.

If you are confused with the terminology, hopefully the following will help you better understand: The energy market has three components that affect the price we pay: Price response (PR), Demand Response (DR) and the Emergency response (ER).  Electricity price is proven to be largely inelastic, and as we are more reliant on alternative energy sources we notice the costs tend to be absorbed. Therefore our only real option to mitigate the price is a Demand Response (DR). DR is proving its ability to offset the most volatile price driver in the market. For the supply side the capex and opex growth on the distributed network is a large cost driver, generation is the marginal cost of capital to develop the projects. Demand Participation (DP) can help slow down the cost drivers and the supply side will welcome the cost reductions or the ability to reduce accelerated infrastructure build times. In this instance think build and increase capital required for infrastructure projects (pole and wires builds and maintenance needs to cater for the demand growth). Emergency Response (ER) is an energy security problem and is reactionary to large events with little warning.

CO2Land org also notes success with DP and that DR has been implemented in a number of electricity markets. This includes DR for Reserve Capacity in Western Australia’s Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) which works very well.  In New Zealand, with a focus on frequency control being particularly important.

In hindsight, the lack of an effective DR mechanism in the NEM has cost electricity users an estimated Present Value (PV) of $15.8 Billion[1] (this is in the order of a 9% impost on their annual electricity bills).  The power to change is with you.

Previously CO2Land org posted, 7 Sept 2012, The Power of Choice – review by AEMC of DR and to recap the “Power of Choice” Review is an unfinished work, and CO2Land org has experience in the material of Demand Response (DR). DR is most effective as a formal aggregation of small amounts of demand reduction from a larger electricity users who are contracted to reduce this pre-agreed amount of their demand at times when their are extreme wholesale prices, extreme peaks in demand or in emergencies.  It is much cheaper way to address these short term events than our current outdated approach of spending billions of dollars on more generators and networks which are only needed for a total of about 40 hours per year.

References to support this view are:


  • Alan Fels, Chair of ACCC, speaking at the Inaugural EUAA Conference on 19 November 2001
  • The Parer Review 2002 “Towards A Truly National And Efficient Energy Market”
  • The EUAA April 2004 “Trial of a Demand Side Response Facility for the National Electricity Market”
  • The ERIG Review November 2006 “Review of Energy Related Financial Markets”
  • Stages 1 & 2 of the Demand Side Participation Review (Stage 3 still in progress)