The adverse effects of climate change on the world are becoming increasingly pronounced. In 2021, the International Energy Agency (IEA) issued its Net Zero Roadmap as a reference for countries to establish their own net zero emissions policies. The pillars of the path to achieving net zero by 2050 according to the IEA are the develoing renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, changing public behavior, electrifying energy consuming equipment, capturing and utilizing CO2. Among these, improving energy efficiency, electrifying equipment and behavioral change are all directly related to energy management systems.
Improving energy efficiency is the most direct and effective method to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. According to the IEA’s Net Zero Roadmap, the contribution from energy efficiency improvement to carbon reduction will be second only to renewable energy during the period from 2020-2030. Past studies on energy management systems and energy efficiency enhancement indicate that energy management systems can improve energy efficiency by over 15%. The electrification of equipment is another important path to net zero, and here too, energy management systems will be required for dispatching electricity once the heating systems inside buildings (including residential homes) and vehicles switch from fossil fuels to electrical power.
Energy management systems are essential to energy efficiency improvement of products, equipment and buildings
One of the functions of energy management systems is to monitor the energy consumption of energy-consuming equipment and the associate area. The popular applied approach is to install electricity meters or flow meters at the energy input end (such as distribution panels) of equipment or it’s associated area, to measure the electricity or fuel consumption of equipment in real time. The measured values can be compared with historical data or standard consumption rates. Any unexpected abnormality (too high or too low) may be related to the aging or damaging of equipments, or pipeline leakage onsite. At this situation, the energy management system can automatically send out a notification to site management teams to inspect equipment or pipelines and undertake repairs, in order to avoid continued waste due to equipment faults or pipeline leakages.
In addition to the detection of potential energy wastage from aging and faulty equipment, energy management systems are also used to improve the energy efficiency of residential, commercial and industrial areas. Energy management systems optimize the control of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting equipment based on indoor temperatures and the occupancy status of residential and commercial buildings.
In industry area, energy management systems help to boost production efficiency and reduce the energy consumption per unit product. In production line, energy management integrates data analytics (such as historical energy data, production schedules and raw materials) into smart manufacturing and optimizes systematic industrial workflows for better energy efficiency in manufacturing. The best energy allocation strategy is created through the calculation of optimal distribution volumes to avoid energy wastage during the production process.
As the global trends for net zero, renewables and energy storage equipment are becoming increasingly mainstream. Energy management systems can select energy or electricity sources to ensure the best value and conditions for users. For example, if an electricity company offers preferential off-peak usage tariffs, users can store energy from renewable sources or the power grid when the tariffs are low and use energy from renewable sources or energy storage equipment when the tariffs are high. This results in more economical electricity consumption. It is even possible to sell excess power back to electricity providers.
For example, TEPCO HomeTech, the joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and Epco Co., Ltd., launched its Enekari service as an integrated service of energy creation, storage and efficiency by assisting households to effectively use excess solar electricity. This entails consumption of self-generated solar power to save on electricity bills at normal times and the supply of backup electricity and domestic water during disasters.
Energy management systems are an important tool to guide the public towards low-carbon behavior
The IEA’s Net Zero Roadmap indicates that the enhancement of equipment energy efficiency will only be able to slow down the increase in carbon emissions after 2030 as the global economy continues to grow. However, further carbon reduction will require a change in human behavior. The purpose of this is to guide the public towards low carbon consumption models and gradually achieve net zero carbon emission.
Hence, behavioral change will be an important pillar in the roadmap to net zero after 2030. This is expected to contribute 10-15% of carbon emission reduction each year between 2030-2050. In this context, energy management systems will serve as an important tool to influence the public’s energy consumption behavior. An experiment in household energy conservation conducted by the Behavioral Science Team (BEST) in Japan is a case in point. The provision of real-time energy consumption data presented visually on mobile phones encouraged people towards energy efficiency and resulted in a carbon reduction of more than 3%.
Public and private sectors should accelerate the introduction of energy management systems to create a low-carbon island
The global push for net zero has placed Taiwan under the external pressure for corporate carbon management via the levying of carbon taxes and carbon border adjustments in different countries, and the internal demand for carbon transformation of domestic companies to comply with the ESG (environment, social and governance) requirements of financial organizations. It is suggested that domestic companies should immediately introduce energy management systems in order to reduce energy loss, enhance energy consumption efficiency and lower carbon emissions from products and services.
In addition to continued improving energy efficiency, behavioral change will become another important driver of carbon reduction technology and energy efficiency in the policy framework. According to the IEA’s Net Zero Roadmap, behavioral change will be an important pillar of carbon reduction beyond 2030. In Taiwna’s 2050 net-zero pathway , ”Green Life” is one of the twelve key strategies. It is suggested that government may consider to promote energy management systems. Through the energy data visualization, It will guide public to reduce energy wastage and pursue a low-carbon life, so that carbon reduction can be achieved through the actions of everyone.