Energy Efficiency: The Way of the Future?

Energy Efficiency: The Way of the Future? As energy costs rise world-wide, companies vie to reduce their risk of carbon exposure. Regulatory policies from Europe to China are changing the way companies manage their energy strategy. The primary objective: to reduce energy costs, predict future regulation and stay ahead of the game.


Energy policies leading to a shift in paradigm

Countries around the globe, from France to the United States to China, have been addressing energy questions at different speeds. In Europe, the Emissions Trading System (ETS) has existed since 2005 and is the largest in the world. Although the price of greenhouse gas certificates remains low, the system is in the process of being revamped.

China, which has started planning its own national ETS, has also decided to focus on renewable energy sources such as wind and photovoltaic energy. Energy resources are a key factor in guiding environmental policies around the world. "With coal as its primary source of energy, and major source of pollution, China has had to turn to cleaner energy sources while encouraging energy efficiency in its industrial sectors." explains Joachim Schleich, a senior professor of Management & Technology at Grenoble Ecole de Management.

"Closely following political agendas and upcoming regulation is the key to staying ahead. These changes are in fact bringing about a change of paradigm wherein demand should follow supply. The increase of fluctuating renewable energy sources in France, Europe and elsewhere has increased the importance of energy load management." adds Joachim Schleich. "Asia has even come to the forefront of renewable energy installations and now accounts for 60% of the world's photovoltaic market." The question remains of what options are best suited to each region and industry.

Energy efficiency or renewable energy?

While regulations gain importance, their impact is felt around the globe. In addition to the obvious effects on the energy sector, other energy intensive activities such as the cement, the steel, the paper and pulp, the chemical, and the ceramics industries risk losing their competitive edge. "One of the issues is how to cope with competition from countries that have not yet implemented such ambitious climate policies." notes Joachim Schleich.

"Local energy efficiency networks are being developed with great success in Switzerland and Germany. They are currently being 'exported' to the benefit of other countries. It's likely that energy efficient technological developments are a sure investment for the future." predicts Joachim Schleich.

On the other hand, although renewable energies are important factors, predicting their impact implies speculating on their support mechanisms. "A difficult challenge exemplified by the collapse of the German photovoltaic market after the government modified its feed-in tariff support system."In the end, finding a solution that balances regulatory policy, energy efficiency technologies and renewable energy investments, is the key to overcoming this challenge.

Marie Mugler, Deputy CEO at Dalkia, shares Dalkia's perspective and possible solutions.

What is Dalkia's sector of activity?

Dalkia has developed a range of services based on energy and environmental efficiency including district heating and cooling networks, multi-technical services, production of industrial utilities and comprehensive building management. In addition, we are a major player in the fight against global warming and the preservation of natural resources.

How does your work help the competitiveness of your clients?

In concrete terms, we help our clients achieve energy-savings which in turn allow them to increase their performance. Of course, the more energy costs affect their business model, the more we can help boost their performance. As energy costs continue to rise, energy efficiency technology should become a real tool for growth.

What innovations has Dalkia developed to increase energy efficiency?

We offer a variety of solutions. Our energy performance contract, for example, is an innovative and efficient tool that offers a contractual commitment to achieve predefined performance levels. It includes an analysis of the situation with recommendations as well as the implementation and management of these suggestions. In the case of Schneider Electric, Dalkia was able to help the corporation save €2.5 million since 2007 thanks to its energy performance contract. We have also launched the "Dalkia Energy Savings Center" (DESC). This platform supervises and manages in real-time all of our clients' buildings in a given region. Our innovations bring clients the optimum environmental management solutions.

Who are your clients?

We collaborate with a wide variety of clients such as local governments, collective housing, the service industry, the health sector and the industrial sector. The industrial sector, which represents 28% of our current activity, is continually expanding and offers us a potential worldwide business worth $300 billion.

Dalkia worldwide

  • Managed revenue: €8.38 billion
  • Located in 27 countries
  • 42,980 employees