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IFS Cloud: Diversification into renewables for the energy industryIFS Cloud: Diversification into renewables for the energy industry">
In summer of 2019, the United Kingdom became the first major economy to pass the carbon neutrality law, which pledged to see greenhouse gas emissions reduced to net-zero by 2050. To reach this ambitious target, expanding the use of renewable energies is critical.
Renewable energy sources are no longer the future, they are very much the here and now, already making up a significant portion of the current UK energy supply. According to SP Global, the contribution made by renewables to UK power generation has more than doubled since 2014. Renewables (mainly wind, solar, biomass, hydro) accounted for 43% of the UK’s 312 TWh of domestic power generation in 2020. What’s more, the IEA’s recently published Renewables 2020 report also stated that Covid-19 has failed to slow the development of renewable energy. Quite the opposite, in fact. In terms of new capacity-boosting investments, renewables will continue to be the fastest-growing energy source through to 2025.
While this is great news from an environmental perspective, it’s not such good news for ‘traditional’ energy and utility companies who could be set to lose a guaranteed source of revenue. That said the shift to more green forms of energy does present huge opportunities for energy companies to capture new revenue streams. Savvy companies are diversifying and investing in renewable energy and the ever-increasing demand to create smart, connected communities.
A bold new future ahead for the energy and utilities sector
Companies need to adopt and embrace an asset centric, consumer centric and product-centric approach. They should be looking to transform their businesses and diversifying to create sustainable energy sources: wind farms, hydro stations, solar power and biomass.
However, the drive towards net zero is also coinciding with the need for energy and utilities companies to manage and reduce their operational costs, while maintaining the reliability, safety and operation of existing assets, optimising resource, efficiently managing new projects and remaining compliant with all their social, economic and environmental governance requirements. Companies must also adapt to face new challengers potentially entering their market, not to mention secure customer loyalty and repeat business. All this, coupled with disruptive technology, distributed energy sources and changing consumer demands, means now is the time to turn these challenges into opportunities.
The challenge of diversifying
Diversification does not come without its own challenges and usually leads to significant changes in business structure. Acquisitions and joint ventures are becoming more common in the power generation industry, as businesses look to expand their capabilities. The power generation business model is also changing from one-way
supply to a two-way exchange, as consumers themselves become active energy producers and supply their additional power back to the grid. Renewable energies also require a more service-centric business model than traditional fossil fuel power stations. This means a business must maintain aftermarket contracts with OEMs to manage servicing or become more service-oriented and manage their own assets, bringing significant organisational and cost implications. All this present yet more significant challenges:
Renewable energy assets have different maintenance schedules to traditional power sources. Maintenance
needs to happen more frequently, requires specialist skill sets and needs to be coordinated across multiple locations, as renewable energy assets typically have a larger geographical distribution.
Ensuring capacity to meet changing energy demands is a constant challenge for renewable energy generation. Renewable energy sources are less predictable than fossil fuels, so forward planning and extensive energy storage are essential for supplying demand.
Renewable energy plants have long lives. For example, hydropower plants typically have a lifespan of up to 100 years. This means longer- term planning is needed compared to fossil fuel generated power.
Adopting new technology is crucial for renewable energy production. The Internet of Things (loT) enables regular updates on asset condition without manual monitoring, which makes it easier to manage assets such as offshore windfarms. But new technology presents a challenge as its success relies on input from multiple stakeholders and integration with existing systems.
IFS Cloud: Meeting the challenges posed by renewable energy generation
Critical to the success of these diversification strategies is not only the ability to embrace new business models but to implement appropriate technology solutions. The renewable energy industry is therefore prime for digital transformation. To adapt to this changing environment, many energy and utility companies understand the need to shift away from legacy systems and move to an industry focused enterprise software solution that is configured to help their existing business operate more efficiently.
They must remove those siloed, disparate applications and replace them with modern technology that is embedded with comprehensive business management capabilities, built to handle change and complexity. What is critical here is a business solution that can adjust easily and rapidly to take advantage as your business
IFS Cloud can support diversification into renewable energy. Developed from IFS’s decades of working in energy and utilities sector guarantees the solution has all the functionality to meet even the most specific needs. A single platform with a single data model, IFS Cloud connects enterprise resource management, enterprise asset management and field service solutions. Containing out of the box digital innovation underpinned by key value drivers like mobile work execution, live dashboards and key performance indicators (KPIs) and including tried and tested emerging technologies such as IoT, IFS Cloud provides end-to-end visibility across various organisational structures and business divisions.
IFS Cloud has been developed to help energy and utilities companies orchestrate their customers, people, and assets as their businesses transform. It has already been selected by EDF Renewables UK and Ireland, who specialise in solar, wind, and battery technology, to support their plans to increase the total green energy generation produced by its onshore and offshore operations. IFS Cloud will power their enterprise asset management, including Operations and Maintenance (O&M) and contract management as well as work order management and mobile workforce management. One of the largest electricity suppliers in the UK is leveraging IFS Cloud and this is only the beginning.
To find out more about how Cooper Software and IFS Cloud can help you make the transition to adopting enterprise asset technology, specifically developed for the power generation industry, please get in touch.