26/05/2021

Article

As the pandemic has clearly demonstrated, caring for Britain is a hugely-demanding 24/7 job. And not just for those on the front line.

Of the 1.3 million employees in the NHS, just under half work behind the scenes to keep our national healthcare system running.

And for all those involved in procurement and energy management, now is likely to be busier than ever as they work towards the 2040 Net Zero target set by NHS England, a decade ahead of the government’s UK-wide 2050 deadline.

As Europe’s largest employer, the NHS accounts for around 4% of the UK’s carbon emissions.

Yet over the last decade, it has reduced emissions by nearly a fifth (equivalent to that produced each year by Cyprus). And is currently working towards an 80% reduction between 2028 and 2032.

£3bn savings possible over the next decade

To achieve this, every NHS organisation is required to have a Green Plan, or Sustainable Development Management Plan, as this was previously known.

With pressures on funding, financing this transition is clearly challenging. 

But with NHS England estimating that working towards Net Zero has the potential to reduce energy bills by £3bn over the next 10 years, there are opportunities to make savings too.

Energy efficiency and on-site generation – for example, via CHP plant or Solar PV – are two of the most popular ways to reduce both energy costs and emissions, and also potentially generate revenue.

Strategy is the secret weapon

But to deliver on all that reaching Net Zero entails, the key to success doesn’t lie in any single action or project. Or even in the long-awaited emerging technologies such as low-carbon hydrogen heating or carbon capture and storage. 

The most important element in any Net Zero plan is an effective strategy. A well-formulated, insightful joined-up plan that takes all sources of emissions and technologies into consideration. 

This is really key as all the different components of energy and emissions management need to work together. 

For example, a long-term, fixed-price supply deal may seem like a good idea, until you realise that you can’t extract any value out of a demand-side response (DSR) strategy (which requires a flexible supply contract).

Embracing new opportunities

DSR has often been too quickly dismissed by organisations needing power 24/7 such as hospitals, due to concerns over security of supply. But in the right hands, today’s technology and solutions can actually enhance security of supply – while also providing revenue-generation opportunities.

Electric vehicle (EV) charging is another area capturing the attention of any site which has work-related vehicles operating, or members of the public visiting. Hospitals clearly tick both boxes. 

But how does adapting to EVs fit within your wider Net Zero strategy? Does your site have the capacity to meet increased electricity requirements? Could you potentially make use of vehicle-to-grid charging opportunities?

Fresh thinking 

For any public sector organisation looking for expertise and fresh thinking around meeting Net Zero targets on time and in the most cost-effective way, we’d be delighted to talk to you.

We have experience of working on a number of strategic, innovative and successful projects with a range of public sector customers. And along with our partners, are fully-compliant with pre-tender requirements. We also understand the complexities of the various funding routes and other options worth considering.

As there’s never a ‘one-size fits all’ approach, an initial exploratory chat is always a good way to start. So feel free to get in touch with our team – either via nBS@npower.com or pick up the phone and call 0800 622 6966.

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