Energy self-sufficiency in industry: opportunities and challenges

Rohre für industrielle Energieversorgung

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Today more than ever, industry faces the challenge of reducing its dependence on fossil fuels. After all, the political and economic developments of recent years have shown how important energy independence is in order to avoid price fluctuations and supply shortages. The pursuit of energy self-sufficiency contributes to greater sustainability in companies – on several levels. By switching to renewable energies and increasing energy efficiency with the help of innovative technologies, they not only become more climate-friendly, but also more economically resilient. But what are the challenges on the way to achieving the most self-sufficient energy supply possible – and how can companies successfully tackle them?

Advantages of energy self-sufficiency: why the industry should strive for it

In practice, “true” energy self-sufficiency, i.e. complete energy isolation from the environment, makes more sense for private households and small businesses – and also feasible. Nevertheless, there are also opportunities for large, energy-intensive companies. Important: The aim should not only be to switch to local, renewable energy sources, but also to reduce overall consumption through efficiency and energy-saving measures.

Independence from energy suppliers and supply nations

In our globalised world, industrial companies are often dependent on major energy suppliers and external supply nations. Political instability and conflicts can therefore quickly lead to severe price fluctuations. By switching to local, decentralised energy suppliers and using self-generated energy, companies can reduce their dependency and protect themselves from unforeseeable external influences such as geopolitical conflicts. This not only protects them against the threat of supply disruptions, but also enables a more stable cost calculation. The path to a more independent energy supply becomes a strategic advantage that strengthens the company’s economic resilience.

Energy costs are reduced

Companies not only benefit from being less dependent on fluctuating energy prices, but energy costs themselves are also reduced. Renewable energy that is produced locally is already significantly cheaper than fossil fuels – also due to rising CO2 prices. In addition, energy consumption is reduced by optimising energy flows and efficiency measures. Investments in sustainable energy technologies that reduce consumption and increase efficiency quickly pay for themselves.

Reduction of emissions

The drive towards energy self-sufficiency also enables industrial companies to minimise their environmental footprint by switching to clean, renewable energy sources and optimising their production processes at the same time. By reducing their dependence on fossil fuels, they are actively contributing to climate protection. For companies, this focus on greater sustainability becomes an additional competitive advantage, as environmentally conscious products and processes are increasingly in demand.

Energy self-sufficiency: technical and economic challenges

Energy self-sufficiency confronts industry with new technical challenges. But not only that, the framework conditions must also be right at an economic level: Incentives, subsidies or regulations from politicians are needed to make a switch to more sustainable solutions attractive for companies. The path towards energy self-sufficiency for industry requires a long-term vision, strategic planning and close co-operation between all the players involved.

Significant financial investments

It is clear that in many cases, the goal of an independent and renewable energy supply requires extensive investment in innovative technologies and the conversion of existing processes and systems. In view of factors such as falling energy costs, an increase in resilience and competitiveness and the associated reduction in emissions, this strategy will pay off for the industry in the long term – both from an economic and an ecological perspective.

Security of supply with rising energy demand

The switch to renewable energies requires a reduction in fossil fuels and an increased focus on electrification using renewable energy sources. However, this increases the demand for electricity considerably. Added to this is the volatility of renewables. The problem is that those who are self-sufficient also bear the risks themselves. Companies must be prepared in the event of a power supply failure. However, by intelligently combining various local energy sources and energy storage technologies, companies can ensure that their supply is guaranteed even in the event of an outage.

How can we achieve energy self-sufficiency?

The path towards energy self-sufficiency consists of many steps. The aim should be to rely on a decentralized supply and to take measures to increase efficiency, thereby reducing energy consumption and thus costs and emissions.

Focus on renewable energy

In the effort to achieve independence from conventional energy sources, the focus on renewable energies is paramount. This switch enables a decentralised local energy supply. Investing in local renewable energy sources not only reduces dependence on fossil fuels, but also strengthens resilience to external influences and thus creates a secure energy supply.

Increasing energy efficiency

Increasing energy efficiency is another crucial step on the road to energy self-sufficiency. This includes optimising industrial processes through the use of state-of-the-art technologies, implementing smart grids for efficient energy distribution and promoting a sustainable working environment. The latter includes, for example, energy-efficient building renovations, but also sensitising employees to the economical use of resources. These energy savings enable companies to minimise their ecological footprint and realise long-term economic benefits.

Energy storage as a key component on the way to an independent energy supply

With the increasing share of renewable energies, the possibility of energy storage is also gaining in importance. This plays a key role in balancing out the volatility and fluctuations in renewable energy generation. Storing surplus energy is necessary to ensure a continuous energy supply even in times of low generation.

 

Energy storage solutions such as the ThermalBattery™ are therefore one of the most important building blocks for a successful transition to an independent energy supply. It stores energy when it is available and releases it at a later point in time when it is needed, thereby increasing security of supply. The energy efficiency of production processes can be maximised through storage, which significantly reduces energy consumption and therefore energy costs. A key advantage of the ThermalBattery™ is that it can be easily integrated into existing industrial processes. In practice, it is already being used successfully by companies such as YARA, a Norwegian fertiliser manufacturer.

Are you interested in ENERGYNEST, or have any questions regarding our thermal energy storage solutions or our applications for your specific industry?

 

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