Veolia’s latest report, Keeping the lights on, shows that more than 68% of energy managers are either very concerned or concerned about the reliability and security of their energy supply. More worrying still is that the research shows half of the senior decision-makers believe the UK is heading towards an energy crisis.
Urgent need for a balanced grid
The report sets out to discover whether we are being realistic about our future energy demands, whether renewables can fill the gap and about planning for radical change. Veolia, which currently generates the equivalent power to supply 1.2 million homes, advocates the urgent need for a balanced grid that has the capability to cope with demand and rapidly changing situations - one that mixes centralised power with smaller low carbon and green energy supplies, and energy storage controlled by the latest predictive control systems.
The report highlights the increasing demand before factoring in the growing population:
- On our streets, electric vehicles are becoming more and more commonplace and it is estimated that by 2050 the energy demand will be extra 18GW - enough to power nearly 48 million homes
- We all rely on the cloud for internet access, data storage and security and the power required to support data centre infrastructure is globally set to grow fivefold over the next few years. If the UK mirrors this trend, data centres will use the equivalent power consumed by more than 16 million homes.
- Electric or district heating will almost certainly replace traditional domestic gas boilers in new homes
- The increasing number of white goods and gadgets in our homes will add further to the future UK power demand requirements.
Richard Kirkman, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Veolia UK and Ireland said:
"We are now deep into a recognised climate crisis inextricably linked to a looming energy crisis. Recent events highlighted in this new report indicate there is every reason to be concerned about business continuity and ensuring uninterrupted energy supply comes with a net zero carbon footprint. Despite having a best in class National Grid which is one of the most reliable in the world, there are still critical decisions to make around the networks use, development and resilience, with more extreme weather events recently presenting a challenge.
"We have equipped ourselves to help businesses to avoid using energy and use it more efficiently, enabling organisations to generate their own low carbon power, and implementing new technologies and machine learning capabilities to ensure the energy is always on at the best price.
"Whilst the report highlights the real risks we face, the solutions are also available using today’s proven carbon reducing energy technologies. The Climate Emergency is happening in front of our eyes and Generation Zero, the people growing up and future citizens and customers, are expecting action. With COP26 coming up in 2020 its time to act, time to prepare your investments, energy sources and plans to ensure you are on the Net Zero trajectory."
Targeting energy use and provide on-site generation
Across the UK Veolia's energy management operations directly look to target energy use and provide on-site generation using renewable and low carbon technologies that can be twice as efficient as conventional power stations. This includes transforming sewage, food waste, non-recyclable household waste and waste wood into renewable heat and electricity and has helped hundreds of organisations to become energy self-sufficient.