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VIOTAS Australian energy and sustainability survey results

Despite Australia committing to a net-zero economy by 2050, and energy being flagged as the number one environmental issue facing Australian business in 2022 by respondents, 65 per cent of commercial energy users in Australia either don’t have, or are unaware of, 2030 or 2050 sustainability targets.

However, of those that do have targets, 75 per cent have a defined action plan to meet them. The biggest challenges in meeting those targets were identified as cost (19 per cent), energy (14 per cent), and change (8 per cent).

Surveying mid to senior level managers in companies that are high users of energy including the manufacturing, construction, mining, chemicals, engineering, aerospace, and agriculture sectors, 97 per cent of respondents with an action plan noted energy management as part of their commitment to meet targets.

This most important objectives identified are to reduce energy usage (34 per cent), source green energy (34 per cent), purchase carbon offsets (15 per cent) and participate in demand response (14 per cent).

“It is extremely positive to see that most of the companies who are committed to achieving sustainability targets have a set action plan to get them there,” said Michael Zammit, managing director at VIOTAS.

“More shareholders, customers and even funding organisations are demanding these plans from companies and the advanced technology arriving in Australia can help organisations in any sector achieve these, often in ways that won’t impact their operations.”

VIOTAS, the Irish smart grid company who recently launched in Australia, has now partnered with Energy Australia, offering Energy Australia’s commercial and industrial customers access to VIOTAS innovative technologies and platform, enabling them to participate in the Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS) markets.

FCAS participating businesses who agree to shut down or reduce non-critical electrical equipment for brief periods when required by the electricity market, help balance the power system and encourage more renewable energy while minimising the need to use more expensive fossil fuel generation to meet demand peaks.

By becoming active participants in the power system, VIOTAS and Energy Australia’s customers are rewarded by earning significant revenue.

As these businesses are playing a key role in accelerating the greater use of renewable energy in their markets, they are also helping to reduce their own carbon impact.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with VIOTAS and providing our customers with access to their industry leading technology as we look to provide value-stacking options to our customers, coupled to leading and accelerating the clean energy transition for all,” said Vaughan Furniss, head of commercial & industrial at Energy Australia.

While 11 per cent of Australian respondents are already participating in demand response for business, two-thirds (66 per cent) were not aware of the practice although 22 per cent of those would consider it as part of their future planning, 22 per cent would be open to it and 46 per cent were unsure as they did not know enough about it.

Almost half (47 per cent) of respondents agreed that they would participate in demand response if they could get paid for helping support the national grid and enabling more renewable energy sources.

Only 9 per cent disagreed and 44 per cent were unsure. An example of a business participating in Demand Response is VIOTAS’ first Australian customer, Intercast & Forge Australia’s largest iron foundry Intercast & Forge based in South Australia.

Having previously participated in State based emergency demand response events in collaboration with the grid operator, the company was looking for a suitable partner to support their entry into the FCAS market.

Using VIOTAS VIO Link advanced demand response technology and the support of the VIOTAS 24/7 operations centre, Intercast & Forge now help maintain grid frequency and prevent blackouts in the region while getting paid for their part in supporting the power system.

“Increasing our participation in Demand Response was a no-brainier for us and partnering with VIOTAS enabled us to enter the FACS market with minimal effort and disruption on our side,” said Brett Lawrence, general manager at Intercast & Forge.

“Intercast is not only supporting the grid through demand response but is now able to react instantaneously to frequency control events in a commercially beneficial partnership which helps keep the lights on and reduce carbon emissions in South Australia.”

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