- POSTED: 11 Oct 2013 00:15
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Singapore's energy-intensive companies are doing a good job in the core aspects of energy management like technology. But they are overlooking a big part of the equation - the people in charge of the technical stuff.
SINGAPORE: Singapore's energy-intensive companies are doing a good job in the core aspects of energy management like technology.
But they are overlooking a big part of the equation - the people in charge of the technical stuff.
And it could be costing them millions of dollars a year.
On the technical side of things, Singapore's energy-intensive companies are performing well.
Buildings have been retrofitted with greener products and equipment is top-notch energy-efficient.
But a recent study by consultancy firm Accenture, with support from the National Environment Agency, shows there's room for improvement on the less measurable people-centric elements.
"What that means is getting it right in terms of strategy, getting it right in terms of governance and leadership, getting it right in terms of identifying which people do make a material impact on energy consumption," said Ynse De Boer, managing director of Accenture's Sustainability Services for ASEAN.
Once those people are indentified, they need to be equipped with the proper skills and training to maximize energy efficiency, added Ynse De Boer.
If that's done, he said, companies can make an additional 10 to 20 percent reduction in energy consumption, adding up to millions of dollars in savings, depending on the company.
"If you take a business that spends S$100 million on energy a year, every year, you're talking about S$10 million, S$15 million in savings that are up for grabs," said Ynse De Boer.
The Accenture study, which was released at the end of August 2013, looked at 100 energy-intensive companies in Singapore.
The study comes on the heels of new regulations requiring energy-intensive companies in the industry sector to appoint an energy manager.
Firms are also to monitor and report energy use and greenhouse gas emissions then devise improvement plans.
These requirements came into effect on 22 April 2013 under the Energy Conservation Act (ECA).
For companies, developing an Enterprise Energy Management (EEM) capability could help them comply with ECA.
EEM involves putting in place appropriate strategies, people, processes, leadership, governance and technology at all levels.
In the weeks leading up to the implementation of the ECA, Accenture partnered with the National Environment Agency (NEA) to carry out the qualitative survey of energy-intensive companies in Singapore.
One of the companies surveyed was power supplier Senoko, which provides more than a quarter of Singapore's electricity needs.
Senoko's senior vice-president for sales and business development, Eu Pui Sun, said the company has invested in highly energy-efficient machines.
But it's not enough.
"While the people work with very efficient equipment, there are bound to be many processes that can be fine-tuned. Whatever suggestion they make can actually make that small incremental improvement, which in the overall operation would result in more energy efficiency," said Eu.
To motivate employees, Eu said Senoko links operational efficiency to a worker's KPIs and bonuses.
It's a strategy that Ynse De Boer says works.
In addition, investing in people is usually much less expensive than replacing costly equipment and it could yield similar benefits.