Christmas is the most wonderful time of year and also the most expensive, not just for your average household but also for many retailers. Yes, retailers can expect to see a huge spike in sales over the festive period, but they will also incur huge energy bills.
In the lead up to Christmas, retailers will extend their opening hours, usually during the evening. Although this may not feel like a substantial amount of time, it can have a huge impact on energy bills as tis the season for triads. From November to February, energy demand is at its highest point, in this period triads happen three times a day and typically fall on a weekday evening.
To put into this in perspective on how much triads impact prices, to boil a kettle of water normally costs approximately 2p, but during a triad, it costs £7.47. That’s a 34,000% increase! Imagine how much a retailer will be impacted when they are operating hundreds of stores. Their energy bills will skyrocket and opening a few extra hours on an evening when triad periods are most likely to occur, could cost retailers thousands in additional energy costs. A single triad period is estimated to cost £15,000 per MW.
There is a huge incentive for retailers to avoid these costly triad periods, but what can be done?
Retailers can access numerous monitoring and analytical services that predict when triads are likely to occur and send instant alerts when one is due. Retailers can respond by either cutting demand during the predicted triads or even avoid it completely by going off-grid.
In order for retailers to reduce their current energy consumption, they need accurate insight into their current energy usage. Implementing IoT sensors throughout a building can enable retailers to monitor all key assets such as HVAC systems and refrigerators. This allows energy managers to determine how much energy is being drawn by each asset. Preventive maintenance solutions also highlight any technical faults that could be causing excessive energy wastage.
When IoT is partnered with AI capabilities, it can allow for automation to take place. The real-time and ongoing monitoring of assets allows for automated adjustments that can control conditions across an entire building to improve energy efficiency. During triad periods, assets can be automatically controlled to reduce their output or shift loads to alternative times of the day, avoiding peak costs.
Alongside this, retailers now have the opportunity to avoid triad periods altogether by taking their stores completely off-grid during triad periods. Industrial battery storage solutions store energy from both the grid and alternative energy sources such as solar power and have the capacity to power a building during triad periods, significantly reducing the retailer’s energy bills.
An additional advantage of using energy storage solutions is the demand side response (DSR), which enables retailers to sell additional energy back to the grid when the energy demand is high and cannot solely be supplied by the grid. The National Grid appeals to all businesses who own storage solutions, as they can sell their energy back to the grid. M&S has begun taking full advantage of DSR and now has generators at 13 stores that are able to help power the grid when needed.
Asda is taking DSR one step further this winter, by using their store’s fridges as virtual battery packs. Its nationwide network of freezers and fridges will make up a 13-megawatt power source which is enough energy to power 8,500 homes. All industrial fridges need to be turned off once a day as part of their defrost cycle, so using IoT sensors on fridges means they can be automatically controlled and turned off to match the grid’s energy demand.
Retailers have the potential to save thousands over the Christmas period by implementing the latest technology and storage solutions. If you would like to find out more about how the Hark Platform can help, simply get in touch.