Enel X and the EEC Educate Business on the Changing Energy Landscape
On July 11, Enel X Australia partnered with the Energy Efficiency Council in a business briefing event.
Published on Monday, 29 July 2019
Enel X Australia partnered with the Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) to host a lunchtime business forum on Australia’s energy outlook and strategy with Alan Kohler AM, a renowned Australian financial journalist and editor. The well-attended event covered current and future trends in energy policy, technology and markets, and was designed to help businesses manage risks and capture opportunities of Australia’s energy transition.
Jeff Renaud, Managing Director Asia and Oceania, Enel X opened the event noting how the rapid adoption of renewables in Australia is disrupting the energy market. He introduced Enel X as a partner to help businesses navigate this complex landscape, and turn energy into a competitive advantage. A large and growing opportunity is power flexibility – the ability to strategically shift when businesses consume electricity from the grid – by curtailing equipment use or onsite power sources, to earn revenue and decarbonise operations.
Jeff used the Frequency Control Ancillary Services market (FCAS) as an example of how businesses can benefit from power flexibility. FCAS participation instantly protects grid security in case of unexpected thermal plant outages or transmission network failures. The program helps to keep the frequency stable and keep the lights on, and businesses earn revenue for doing so. Enel X is the only player in this market which opened in 2017, and we are responsible for 15% of the market with diverse clients participating across universities, hospitals, industrial sites, data centres and cold storage facilities.
Jeff closed with comments on the effect of renewables on wholesale energy pricing and daily price volatility. He said, “this represents a significant opportunity and price signal to incentivise power flexibility, energy storage and other technologies … A current barrier to business participation is that the traditional retail construct is not well suited to address this issue, so Enel X helps businesses find creative solutions to wholesale energy price volatility.”
Alan Kohler AM reinforced Jeff’s comments, citing three factors driving the changing Australian energy landscape: the move toward renewables; the lack of a sensible energy policy; and the fact that in the absence of policy, people are moving forward from the demand side, such as Enel X. Alan said generation is becoming decentralised and the grid is becoming a two-way infrastructure, which represents a business revolution. Solar power is creating enormous arbitrage opportunities, and Alan cited a recent insight paper from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) stating the need for storage to assist with energy shifting is at an unprecedented scale.
Alan encouraged businesses to participate in demand management, noting the need for a large scale aggregator like Enel X, to stay competitive. He was forthright in saying, "If you can't make good money from demand response, then you're not trying, and your competitors will.”
His speech was followed by a panel discussion with senior business executives David Abela, Executive General Manager of Visy Global Procurement; Vikas Ahuja, Head of Energy and Sustainability at Coles; and Anna Skarbek, CEO of ClimateWorks. The panel discussed how business is responding to a transforming energy market, and the strategies businesses are employing to take control of their energy position.
Anna opened the discussion stating “energy is not a set and forget business anymore”; that energy efficiency is the first step in saving money on energy bills and reducing emissions. David noted Visy has a large footprint and is investing more than $1 billion over the next five years; taking action with a dedicated energy committee to address the company’s sustainability and innovation across gas, waste, and deregulated power. Vikas highlighted that Coles, as a large energy user, has achieved a high level of executive engagement because "energy management delivers results". He noted for Coles, demand management is not a priority at the moment, but the company is on the journey. Coles participated in the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT) program this year, and the accounts team were interested to do a lot more of it once they saw the credit on their energy bills.
The event also launched of the latest edition of a flagship report that decodes Australia’s energy landscape for businesses: Navigating a dynamic energy landscape: a briefing for Australian businesses. Enel X Australia’s client AB Oxford Cold storage is featured in the briefing as a power flexibility case study, participation in two programs allows the facility to offset 10% of its rise in electricity costs.