Large manufacturing companies are frequently set extremely ambitious targets on their sustainability and energy use.
This is, in part, due to the unusually large proportion of their costs that are due to energy: in energy intensive industries, like the automotive sector, this could be as much as 5% of the turnover and thus the potential impact on profitability is clear.
Improving operational fuel economy
Fuel and electricity costs are directly proportional to profit.
A second reason is less obvious – there are significant opportunities that can be realised.
A number of factors contribute to this:
- ownership of premises which are frequently large, centralised plants
- frequently have spare land for large energy projects, such as CHP
- have invested heavily in sites and can thus sign-up to long-term energy contracts, ESPCs or PPAs, enabling third-parties the security of investing in these plants also
- frequently have the bank balance to self fund projects, or at least fund the projects to a stage where a third party can join in
- the complexity of the processes onsite lends itself to overlapping iterations of energy projects, allowing multiple project rollouts across site compound to improve the bottom line
In the above analysis, Toyota EU leads the field in terms of sustained compound energy intensity reduction, and they are not alone in being on the front-foot in this area. With renewable decentralised energy projects for BMW and Ford, Ameresco is helping the automotive industry systematically reduce its energy use and utility bills.
With a huge cost base and large manufacturing facilities, car and vehicle manufacturing industries are in a prime position to take advantage of a variety of energy projects: Metering projects, 6-sigma process improvements, Lighting LED projects, PEC paint emissions reduction innovations, compressed air ‘washing’, compressor and steam improvement projects, BEMS and SCADA projects.
This in addition to large renewable and decentralised energy projects: Gas, Biomass and Biogas CHP and Air-CHP, onsite wind turbines, PV and Hybrid arrays, Water and Ground-source heating and cooling projects.
High costs of shutdowns or brownouts ensure site security remains a prime issue for site, and this can help the case for onsite generation from a security of supply perspective, as well as generating demand-side revenue from the existing standby generation assets. Coupled with some smart procurement, this revenue can frequently be the enabler for Investment grade Studies which, in turn, unlock ESPC projects.