Opportunities through sustainable energy systemsEnergy accounts for up to ten percent of total production costs, and this figure is as much as 40 percent of manufacturing costs in energy-intensive industries such as the steel, chemical and pharmaceutical sectors. It is estimated that industrial energy consumption has grown three times faster than general consumption over the past 40 years and currently accounts for 42 percent of the energy consumed worldwide. Industries play a key role to play in power supply, power transmission and energy management systems.
Climate protection, quality of supply, and energy costs represent enormous challenges for industries. Yet without industrial companies, the necessary emission reductions are unlikely to happen, since the generation of electricity and heat for processes and buildings causes high CO2 emissions. However, industrial plants can also be supplied with renewable energy. This reduces CO2 emissions as well as the need to buy electricity, and the sale of surplus energy further offsets operating costs. An additional benefit is the positive social acceptance "green companies" enjoy – as employers and business partners.
The shifting energy landscape also influences the quality of supply. For industries, changes in equipment and technological processes are playing an increasingly significant role – for example, through the use of new and more efficient power electronics and energy-storage technologies. Safeguards against system failure, and the protection of people and property are also important aspects of supply security.
Mastering the costs of energy as part of operations and production costs is a decisive factor for a company’s competitiveness. As energy becomes increasingly important for industries, industrial microgrid solutions become more and more relevant. They combine energy supply, storage and data collection, as well as energy-optimized production planning and control. The elements of a microgrid – distributed power generation, storage, electrical equipment, control technology, and energy automation with corresponding applications – can also be individually monitored and adjusted to optimize the overall electricity supply.