Government support withdrawal sparks energy strategy overhaul

Sutton, UK: Food and beverage manufacturers are increasingly re-evaluating equipment procurement strategies following concerns over winter blackouts and the planned withdrawal of government financial support, says Matt Watson, European manufacturing sector expert, Aggreko Europe.

Temporary hire specialist Aggreko’s warning comes in the wake of the news that the government is to reduce assistance on business energy bills after March.

This latest announcement, combined with a recent survey from trade body Make UK stating that two-thirds of manufacturers fear blackouts this winter, has led to concerns over the continued performance of the UK national grid.

Watson stresses the the importance of looking into other technologies to help maintain power base-loads at a challenging time for industry.

“The energy crisis remains a pressing and ongoing concern across all walks of life in the UK, including in the manufacturing sector,” explains Matt. “With a recession expected and support being cut, the need to safeguard production output and profitability is more important than ever. Consequently, organisations need to act and evaluate new approaches if they are to avoid an ever-worsening situation of unreliable grid supply, and knock-on effects including expensive unplanned downtime.

“In order to mitigate the pressures associated with grid constraints, alongside energy availability and pricing, equipment specifiers at manufacturing sites are exploring strategies that were previously overlooked. With ageing grid infrastructure and global factors continuing to impact financial bottom lines, one thing is clear – the food and beverage industry cannot stand still, and it is encouraging that new ways of thinking and acting are being embraced.”

Watson says decentralised energy solutions may provide an approach that can mitigate challenges posed by grid power constraints and build site resilience. Specifically, he is advocating that business stakeholders look beyond purchasing supporting generators that may be over or under-specified for rapidly fluctuating power demand and grid provision.

Decentralised energy solutions may provide an approach that can mitigate challenges posed by grid power constraints and build site resilience, Aggreko says

“A major consequence of volatile energy costs and supplies is that businesses are finding it more difficult to plan ahead,” Watson says.

“Consequently, manufacturers need to expand their equipment approach beyond simply purchasing generators outright. Given the large fluctuations in fuel costs and required output, such an approach may be costly in both the short- and long-term.

“Instead, we would recommend organisations look at alternative strategies, including the hire of load-on-demand, combined heat and power, and battery energy storage systems. With the business landscape continuing to look challenging for manufacturers, stakeholders must work more closely with suppliers to identify solutions that not only guard against power shortfalls, but also improve overall efficiency.”