Electrical Times Feature: ESOS is coming…are you ready?

Leo Craig, general manager at Riello UPS explores the pending Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) and new emerging technologies helping companies to prepare for it.

With electricity demand set to double by 2050 and the rising threat of UK power shortages, large companies have faced increasing pressures from Government in recent years to be more energy efficient. Data centres account for more than seven per cent of total UK energy consumption and so clearly have a vital role to play in energy reduction techniques.

 A change is coming…

 In response to the 2012 EU Efficiency Directive, the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s answer is the introduction of the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). The scheme obligates large companies to have four yearly energy audits from which detailed reports are produced on energy use and the efficiency of an organisation. The report will identify cost effective ways to save energy, reduce business energy bills and increase competitiveness.

This mandatory scheme will affect UK companies with more 250 employees or companies with fewer than 250 employees but with an annual turnover exceeding €50m/£40million. The Government estimates that the average cost of an audit is £6,600 which some may see as a hindrance. But potential fines are steep – £50,000 and / or an additional fine of £40,000 in daily penalties for non-compliance – and so the advantages certainly outweigh the cost. Companies can benefit from potential savings of up to £35,400 from their initial audit so complying with ESOS does pay off.

It should be noted that companies which are approved to the energy management standard, ISO 50001, do not need to comply or take any actions under ESOS or need ESOS audits. However, they still need to register with ESOS. Obligated businesses will be required to carry out this assessment and reporting process in each four year compliance period, ending on 5th December 2019, 2023 and so on.

New emerging technology

The introduction of ESOS will greatly contribute to the Government’s target to reduce EU energy consumption by 20 per cent by 2020 and in the long term, help cut carbon emissions by up to 95 per cent by 2050. However data centres can play their part in the energy reduction drive by using the Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) correctly, focusing on ‘reducing and saving’ through new technology and improved data centre design.

For example, rightsizing a UPS makes it possible to invest only in the functionality required for the current load requirement, minimising up-front costs for capital equipment and maximising efficiency. This ‘modular’ approach allows the system to be scaled up or down to meet future demands. Riello UPS recently launched its Multi Power UPS, a modular three-phase double conversion system scalable for any business requirements. Using up to 28 power modules of 42kW each, it gives complete scalability from 42kW to 1176kW.

 Energy Storage

The role of UPS technology as a form of energy storage is also becoming increasingly critical in a world threatened by power shortages.  

Using Lithium Ion (Li-ion) batteries with a UPS presents an opportunity to use the UPS as an energy accumulator, allowing the data centre to use stored power during times of peak demand. As Li-ion batteries have greater cyclic properties (10,000 cycles) compared to valve-regulated lead acid batteries (500 cycles) they have a faster rate of recharge which makes them suitable for energy storage applications. Li-ion batteries now give data centres the ability to store sufficient power capacity to keep the data centre running for 30 to 60 minutes or more without having to run the generator.

Change is needed to survive

The first deadline to have completed ESOS audits is now looming in December 2015 and so businesses will soon have no choice but to consider their carbon footprint. The benefits to energy efficiency methods are clear as Ofgem states that energy savings of just six per cent a year could save the UK 3TWh per year – enough to power 160,000 homes. This goes to show that energy efficiency methods can work and it is in businesses’ best interests to embrace new technology and energy saving techniques to survive in a world with new stricter legislation.