When it comes to the grid, energy is a finite resource. It’s easy to forget that power is limited when we are so accustomed to throwing a switch and our device or appliance turns on
But for businesses, energy consumption is capped – go over your agreed limit and your distribution network operator (DNO) will hit you with surcharges. This is because most public and commercial buildings share a grid connection with their neighbours, and the DNO needs to ensure each building gets its fair share.
Your building’s share is set out in your contract, as your maximum import capacity (MIC). This is the upper limit on the total electrical demand you can place on the network. It is usually set to ensure that it meets the requirements of peak demand, with a little headroom for exceptional circumstances. Breach your MIC and you will incur excess capacity charges.
You might ask, why do facilities managers need to know about MIC? Most energy initiatives around buildings are focused on reducing consumption, not increasing it. However, there are trends underway that could dramatically affect power usage on your premises and building managers need to understand how to deal with them.
UK energy usage is forecast to double by 2050 from a 2018 baseline, according to the Climate Change Committee’s sixth carbon budget. This represents a dual challenge for facilities managers as they look to implement energy efficiency against a backdrop of increasing energy use. But where is this additional energy demand coming from? Here are two trends happening now:
1. Electric vehicles
We are entering the first phase of mass adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), and this will require higher levels of workplace and visitor charging infrastructure. The days of a building getting by with only one or two charging points could soon be behind us – and those extra EV chargers will place high demands on the grid.