Energy management services vs. in-house – How different can it be?

Story 12.4.2023 0:00 EEST

Energy management services vs. in-house – How different can it be?

The energy crisis and fluctuating energy prices have caused plenty of discussion around the energy industry during the past year. Right now, prices are settling into a more normal range, allowing us all to take a deep breath and focus on other development projects. 
The most critical stage might be over, but it doesn’t mean that we can or should forget about energy management altogether. The energy transition is causing constant shifts in the energy market that might result in sudden price fluctuations. 
Moreover, companies are under tremendous pressure to move to more sustainable solutions. Using renewable energy isn’t the only option to mitigate climate change – producing products and services more energy efficiently allows your company to cut down its energy consumption and costs. 
How big of an impact can efficient energy management have? Is energy optimisation and switching to modern energy management services, such as Beyond Spot really worth it? 
There are as many energy management solutions as there are companies – therefore making a direct comparison is impossible. Beyond Spot is a solution that is the result of years of developing energy management systems within the UPM Group, with all valuable learnings wrapped up into an efficient solution. Hence, we can offer you a glimpse of what energy management looked like within UPM before Beyond Spot. 

Traditional and in-house energy management 

Minimal energy management 

For a long time at UPM, energy management meant only focusing on energy-efficient production – the aim was for the hourly energy consumption to be as stable and stay as close to a predefined level as possible. The hourly energy consumption target did not vary based on the hourly energy price fluctuations. 
Changes in production processes did not affect the predefined energy consumption target either – the goal was simply for the energy consumption to remain as close to the fixed level as possible while developing production efficiency. 

Manually adjusting production based on general energy prices 

In 2009, UPM introduced an internal, stock price-based electricity pricing system. Production units began paying more attention to electricity prices and the fixed energy consumption target was removed. 
In the beginning, adjusting to energy prices was done with manual excel sheet calculations daily. Calculations had to take into account the number of pending orders, production capabilities and the supply chain status in addition to energy prices, making the calculations a constant iterative process. 
The price of electricity was actively monitored, and efforts were made to utilise price fluctuations as much as possible, taking into account the limitations imposed by manual calculations. Based on electricity price fluctuations, production volumes were adjusted in units where the utilisation rate had room for flexibility without affecting the entire production capacity. Making the most of the differences in the night and day-time electricity played an important role. The calculations did not apply hourly differences in electricity price fluctuations. Instead, they were based on the general price level. 

Modern energy management service – Beyond Spot 

After years of constant iteration and development, UPM combined all valuable energy management learnings into a modern energy management service. Beyond Spot is a cutting-edge energy management service that offers a range of advanced features to help businesses optimise their energy usage and save costs. 

Deeper understanding of production processes leads to more accurate energy predictions

When it comes to energy management, everything starts with having an extensive understanding of your production processes and the flexibilities within them. When a company starts using Beyond Spot, the production process is carefully analysed and mapped by the Beyond Spot team. This enables enhanced consumption forecasting capabilities, which allow businesses to accurately predict their energy usage and adjust energy processes based on fluctuating energy prices. 
Beyond Spot is the perfect tool for production optimisation, providing real-time insights into energy usage across various production processes. Beyond Spot offers highly accurate reporting and monitoring tools, allowing businesses to keep track of their energy usage in real-time and make adjustments as needed. This means automatically updating, more frequent predictions compared to manual calculations. By analysing this data, the system can help your business to identify inefficiencies and optimise energy usage to improve productivity and reduce costs. The prediction model keeps improving with data, resulting in more accurate predictions. Changes in the environment also are also automatically taken into account as the data affects the prediction. 

“Beyond Spot filled the exact need we had. The solution wasn’t too versatile nor too narrow, but exactly what we wanted. I would recommend Beyond Spot – our prediction model keeps on learning and becoming more accurate. I’m convinced Beyond Spot will help us on our future journey towards carbon neutrality by 2026.” 
– Tiia Kiuru, Production Manager at Lappeenrannan Energia 
Read the case story: Lappeenrannan Energia – Production efficiency and cost savings with an accurate prediction model 

Furthermore, Beyond Spot offers deep knowledge of the energy management system and how to develop it. This includes insights into best practices, as well as expert advice on how to integrate the system with existing infrastructure and processes. This helps businesses to leverage the full power of Beyond Spot and achieve maximum energy efficiency and cost savings. 

Acquire energy at its lowest price 

Beyond Spot allows companies to optimise their energy procurement processes. Optimising production processes can lead to lower energy consumption, which in turn can result in lower energy costs. With a deeper understanding of your company’s energy processes, it’s possible to effortlessly utilise energy flexibilities to adjust production to take advantage of lower energy prices during off-peak hours. All of this can be done without compromising production processes. 

Generating revenue by trading energy

Beyond Spot offers powerful tools for energy trading, enabling businesses to generate continuous revenue from buying and selling energy on the market. This helps to offset the cost of energy consumption and can even result in a net positive gain for the business. With Beyond Spot, your company will be able to utilise the energy flexibilities hidden in your production processes. You’ll be able to buy more energy when prices are down and sell energy when prices are up. 

Focus on your core business with effortless energy management 

One of the key advantages of Beyond Spot is that maintenance and updates are effortless, freeing up valuable time and resources that can be better spent on core business activities. In case of future changes or expansions, the Beyond Spot team will provide support in adjusting the system. Beyond Spot is more time and cost-efficient, more scalable and more flexible than traditional energy management, and the system can be accessed from anywhere.

“Having a partner who helps us optimise our energy use in the increasingly complex energy markets has allowed us to focus on our core business. This partnership has enabled us to lower our energy costs and generate revenue from energy trading. It has had a significant positive impact on our profitability.” 

– Petri Hyyryläinen, Director, Energy Finland, UPM Communication Papers 
Read the case story: UPM Communication Papers – Peace of mind with energy operations and significant impact on profitability

In addition to its ease of use, Beyond Spot also provides businesses with constant updates on the latest changes in energy markets and regulations, enabling them to make informed decisions about how best to manage their energy usage. This information is presented in a clear and easy-to-understand format, making it easy for businesses to interpret and act upon. The Beyond Spot team also hosts regular training sessions for factory personnel on how to best utilise Beyond Spot to be as energy-efficient as possible. 
Finally, Beyond Spot offers comprehensive support on energy topics and strategies, helping businesses to develop and implement effective energy management strategies that align with their core business objectives. This means that businesses can focus on what they do best while leaving energy management to the experts. 

So, is modern energy management worth it? 

Modern energy management dives deep into the details of production processes providing detailed data on how to optimise your energy management, which leads to numerous benefits. Fully utilising the benefits of modern energy management requires committing to using the service and its tools as a part of daily operations, but the commitment will open many doors. 
So in summary, here are some key points on how modern energy management differs from more traditional energy management solutions: 

  • A deeper understanding of production processes
  • More accurate energy predictions
  • Process optimisation leads to energy efficiency and smaller costs
  • Smaller energy procurement costs by utilising flexibilities
  • Additional revenue by trading energy flexibilities
  • No need to worry about updates or changes in the environment
  • More time to focus on key business operations
  • More time and cost-efficient, more scalable and more flexible 

Our experts are happy to tell you more about Beyond Spot services. Book a free consultation now! Book a free energy management consultation