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Achieving sustainability is a key consideration for both consumers and business, writes Gary Ryan, Managing Director, Energia. With constant advances in digital solutions, companies are often faced with the challenge of incorporating new technologies. Sustainability is not a recent phenomenon or concept; rather it has been in the public consciousness for over thirty years with an ever-increasing focus internationally since the turn of the century. As we move toward 2020 there is a broad acceptance here in Ireland that efforts with regard to sustainability, decarbonisation and associated areas need to be redoubled if we are to meet the needs of communities and businesses today and into the future. As a leading energy provider, at Energia we understand our role in this regard and as such we are evolving, drawing on technical innovation that will benefit our customers and broader society.
In terms of end users in the residential and business sector, there is an ongoing need to facilitate the deployment of renewable energy sources, making them easily accessible, and ensuring that the public are aware of their clear benefits. Ultimately, accessibility, affordability and a return on investment are factors that energy providers need to demonstrate to facilitate innovation and adoption.
Linked to this, it is important that the energy sector understand the evolution of the consumer. The rise of new technologies and societal norms such as work-life balance, education etc. all has consequences for the demands of energy consumers. People want greater control, for example, the ability to adjust energy settings remotely for their business, manage internal home heating settings etc.
We are also upgrading our digital capabilities to account for the emergence of new technologies such as the internet of things and the fact that we will be required to manage increasing volumes of data and connected devices associated with the needs of our customers. This process of innovation also extends externally, where we are developing digital ecosystems consisting of tech-entrepreneurs right through to established suppliers. While we have listed a few examples of how we are innovating across our business, we do recognise that sustainability encompasses several areas such as decarbonisation, energy provision, usage – it is interlinked across our internal and external functions. Fundamentally, this process of innovation is ongoing so as to ensure we can not only match, but also anticipate, the needs of our customers, and broader communities in the short, medium and long term.