Why buy electricity at a high price when you can buy it cheaply?

Story 5.11.2021 0:00 EET

Energy should be saved in every way possible. Besides energy efficiency, companies can reach financial gains with the help of energy flexibilities.  A simple way to benefit from energy flexibilities is to use machinery when electricity is cheaper, rather than during the hours with higher prices. In recent months, the electricity price has been high with dramatic fluctuations. The more renewable electricity generation capacity is added to the power grid, the more the price will fluctuate. Price differences of tens of euros per megawatt between consecutive hours are not just something that will happen in the distant future - they are a reality already. 

Lately, the role of households in balancing the electricity demand has been discussed a lot in the media. However, a much more significant impact would come if industrial companies started optimising their energy consumption - something they could start doing immediately. One industrial process can consume more electricity than a massive number of household hot water boilers. The starting point for industrial companies is to question their traditional energy management practices. Industrial operators should ask themselves: Can some processes be run at night, and can needed maintenance be carried out during the day? During extreme price peaks, many functions could be paused for a moment. 

The price and reward of energy flexibility change constantly, and recent examples show that flexibility potential can sometimes be well compensated. On the contrary, if an industrial operator is not awake at all times, it may use costly electricity unnecessarily. Furthermore, the amount of electricity needed may have been wrongly forecasted with the consequence of having to buy more or sell it at a very bad time.  

Industrial companies should clearly understand what is profitable and necessary electricity usage for them at any given time. Further, they should know when to adjust their own activities to make money through energy trading in the electricity market. 
Renewable energy sources and intelligent technical solutions bring unprecedented innovations to energy operations. To succeed in the competition, industrial operators must keep up with the development. The use of common sense and determination are the starting points towards good results.  
In its own operations, UPM has noticed that paying attention to energy matters has brought good results. The fundamentals to success are detailed consumption forecasts, optimisation of energy usage, identification of flexibilities, and harnessing them in daily operations. And finally, all of these must be automatically connected to the energy trading markets. 
When you make your energy process as digital and efficient as possible, data will start revealing where you can make even smarter decisions. Modeling and data analysis are effective ways to find the points with financial savings potential. Digitalisation enables companies to gain complete visibility of their energy processes and financials and empowers them to take corrective actions. 
When an industrial electricity consumer -who can simultaneously also be an electricity producer, a battery owner, and a wind PPA holder- has an optimised electricity procurement process, it will be able to sell all its flexibility to the electricity market and thus, generate additional revenue.  
Having an entirely digital electricity procurement process not only ensures an optimal situation throughout the entire energy process but also maximises savings. As industrial companies are digitalising their operations, holistic energy management becomes more essential than ever.