How to best monitor energy consumption
Switzerland has escaped electricity shortages for the time being, but don't let your guard down, warn Federal Councillors Guy Parmelin and Albert Rösti, as the threat remains for next winter.
The good news is that consumption has already fallen: for gas, the reduction has exceeded Switzerland's target by 15%; for electricity, the savings are 1.9%, slightly less than hoped. An additional effort is required from companies, large consumers and everyone in between.
So how can we better manage and understand our daily, monthly, annual and multi-year consumption patterns? ELCA wants to contribute to the collective effort to save energy, by working on the development of dashboards that give a precise view of load curves.
The threat of a shortage remains.
We know that the plan presented by the Federal Council in November 2022 provides for quotas for large consumers, to cope with a serious energy shortage in the event of a major crisis. This would affect 34,000 consumers of more than 100 megawatt-hours per year, i.e. around half of the total amount of electricity consumed in Switzerland, which is no mean feat.
One of the key challenges of this energy-saving policy, which Berne is pursuing in view of the international context, is to set up genuine monitoring tools that will enable companies to track and understand their consumption.
Today, each company is managed directly by one of the energy distributors operating in the highly fragmented Swiss market. They have electricity meters capable of measuring consumption in real time and automatically transmitting the data to the distribution network operators, i.e. the load curve, which provides quarter-hour-by-quarter information on consumption.
What's lacking, however, are tools that enable large-scale consumers to understand, project, compare and predict, so as to optimize consumption and align it with current savings imperatives. They need to be able, in a simple way, to compare their load curve, identify when there are peaks, and monitor their consumption behavior, so as to be able to influence it. Companies must therefore equip themselves with decision-making and operational processes adapted to this new situation.
Dashboards to monitor consumption
To this end, ELCA has developed a solution designed for large-scale consumers, electricity distributors and engineering firms carrying out energy studies. The solution is built around dashboards that enable future consumption to be understood, predicted and compared, so that they can be influenced.
The amount of consumption over different periods of the year can thus be displayed, making it possible to understand and remedy the reasons for a one-off increase.
These dashboards also enable large-scale consumers to set themselves targets for reducing energy consumption, by comparing the current state of consumption with a forecast projected over an average of the last three months.
For the time being, Switzerland has escaped the worst, despite the alarmist forecasts for autumn 2022. But it has benefited from a relatively mild winter. Only a collective effort will enable us to manage the threats to our energy supply as effectively as possible in the future.