BT is looking to hire data scientists in a bid to unlock greater energy efficiency throughout its operations.
Head of energy and environment, Scott Balloch, told delegates at XEnergy in London that the firm had already saved more than £200m a year through energy efficiency investment. Now it seeks further gains and Balloch believes a new breed of energy manager will be required to deliver them.
While there is “still a role” for mechanical engineers and traditional disciplines, Balloch said he sought an “evolution in the types of skill-set that we need from energy managers”. That is, a “much more data-centric approach”.
Hiring data scientists and training them in the fundamentals of energy management, he said, may pay greater dividend than vice versa, “because they have the ability to think about things in a different way and identify sources of efficiency that may not be obvious”.
While attracting such skills is a “critical issue” for energy management, equally important is convincing boards to view energy as a strategic issue, according to Balloch. “I don’t think enough firms do that,” he said. But doing so can unlock significant savings in both the short- and long-term.
“We have taken about £220m of annualised cost out of the business as a result of energy efficiency and the opportunity is there for lots of other firms to do the same,” said Balloch. “All [our energy efficiency] investments had a two year payback or better.”
BT, said Balloch, consumed about 1% of the UK’s total electricity, “so we have to pay close attention to it”. He added that rising non-commodity costs rather than wholesale prices “keep me awake at night”.
While sustainability benefits as a result of energy efficiency improvements are welcome, Balloch said he “did not get into this to save the planet. Energy is a key commercial risk for businesses.”
Free 2016 demand-side response report
M&S Plan A boss: There is more low hanging energy efficiency fruit than ever
Firms ill prepared for ‘huge’ capacity costs on energy bills
National Grid issues first capacity market notice
Government moves to change capacity market rules
More than half of I&C firms mulling energy storage investment
Triad, CFD, RO and capacity market: Prepare for price hikes, warns SmartestEnergy
Protection for energy intensive will add 7% to other firms’ third party costs
Capacity market call sees £2,500MWh price spike, National Grid says market working
Major changes to capacity market and distributed generation charging regime proposed
Energy brokers and TPIs warn early capacity market could add 5% to power bills
Early capacity market costs to hit energy bills
Higher credit cover and penalties for capacity market providers
Capacity market closes with no new gas as aggregators warn of £75/MW hour price spikes
Energy intensives urge government to broaden renewables cost protection
Energy intensives to be refunded policy costs, says Cameron
Click here to see if you qualify for a free subscription to the print magazine, or to renew.
Follow us at @EnergystMedia. For regular bulletins, sign up for the free newsletter.
An interesting view of the ongoing battle for energy reduction…I’m sure a properly balanced engineering and data approach would be better than the sum of its parts