7 tips to help manufacturers create a resilient, sustainable electric future

7 tips to help manufacturers create a resilient, sustainable electric future

June 24, 2024
Is your facility ready to handle new energy dynamics as electrification grows and ESG regulations evolve?

Climate emergencies, power outages, and energy costs are soaring — underscoring the need for far more resilient and cost-efficient power for manufacturing. At the same time, the global push for sustainability has intensified, driven by ESG targets, net zero goals, and a focus on environmental stewardship. 

To ensure that a move toward a more electrified future is also a sustainable one, businesses must strategize effectively. Around the world, the energy infrastructure needs to be ready for whatever comes next. The longstanding approach of setting up your energy systems and largely forgetting them until something breaks is no longer sufficient. 

How will you prepare your facilities to withstand the new energy dynamics at play? Here are 7 tips that can help answer that question:

  1. The best energy is the energy you don’t use. Driving efficiencies in how you use energy is key. From lighting to motors, there are many opportunities to cut energy consumption. 
  2. Adding onsite distributed energy resources (DERs) can help reduce your electric bill and carbon footprint. Although energy needs for each facility are unique, solar PV systems can be designed to deliver reliable, low-carbon energy well into the future. For example, onsite solar PV systems at multiple Eaton facilities in Pennsylvania (including a factory, office building and training center) have been helping reduce emissions and energy costs year over year for more than a decade.
  3. Energy storage is key. It provides the means to strategically use your self-generated energy even when the sun isn’t shining, meaning you can reduce your peak demand charges and further cut your utility bill.  
  4. Microgrids provide powerful flexibility and control. When you have onsite solar, energy storage, generators and/or other DERs, microgrid control enables you to power your operations even when the grid is down. Importantly, microgrids also provide a means to add electrical capacity without changing your utility service to support increasing electric demand. 
  5. Flexible energy systems are vital to powering manufacturing. Build in the capacity to scale your energy infrastructure, so you can add DERs as you see fit. The steps you take today can establish the foundation to support increasing electricity demand as electrification takes off.  
  6. Digital technologies are helping organizations make smarter decisions. The connectivity and actionable insights afforded through digital software and hardware applications are helping boost productivity, safety, and uptime in manufacturing environments. Whether keeping a closer eye on preventive maintenance requirements or modeling the ROI of potential upgrades, digitalization is the key to create a foundation for continuous improvement. 
  7. Work with your local utility early on in your project. Every utility has its own set of rules for interconnection, and you need to know the requirements for your system and the implications it will have on your energy spend. By engaging with your local utility early on, you can be better positioned to size your project appropriately, plan ahead for interconnection requirements and ensure you meet local requirements.
About the Author

Richard Gorze

Richard Gorze is Global Energy Manager for Eaton, where he has led the organization in developing a strategy to reduce carbon through various green supply contracts, implementing renewables from concept to implementation and developing a pipeline of 70+ solar projects.

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