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How to reduce energy costs

Mark Millar, CEO of Puredrive Energy, on the solution to soaring bills and a volatile energy market
Puredrive battery mounted on an external wall

This article first appeared in our Organic September issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published on 14 September 2022. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Soaring energy bills are leaving households facing dire financial straits, while the companies that provide the power are making record profits.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, summed up the anger of many who are struggling to make sense of the disconnect: ‘These eye-watering profits are an insult to the millions of working people struggling to get by because of soaring energy bills’, she said – adding that working people are staring down the barrel of the longest and harshest wage squeeze in modern history.

At Puredrive Energy we manufacture home battery storage systems and supply them to the UK market.

As a result, we feel the rage of homeowners who are desperate to reduce their energy costs and are looking for help, support and advice around finding appropriate solar panel and battery installations for their home.

Their goal is to achieve energy independence by disconnecting from the grid; by taking control of their own energy in this way, homeowners can reduce the financial impacts of political upheavals and the corporations that seem to be greedily taking advantage of all the uncertainty.

Why are energy prices increasing?

We have been told that the recent hike in energy prices has been driven by wholesale prices – specifically the soaring cost of gas, which has surged as much as six-fold on global markets.

Prices have gone up for many reasons; Europe had a longer winter than usual which led to a significant use of gas stocks. At the same time, there was a surge in energy consumption when economies all round the world were re-opened following the Covid-19 pandemic.

More recently, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to a restriction of Russian gas; energy firms passed the extra costs on to customers and increased household energy bills by unprecedented amounts.

According to Martin Lewis, energy bills are set to top £5,386 per year for the average British household from the start of January 2023, after already rising to £3,549 in October 2022.

This will mean increased pain for households, with bills in the month of January alone likely to hit more than £500.

Made in the UK

At Puredrive Energy we have been manufacturing battery systems from Cheltenham for five years, and have recently seen a huge rise in demand for our products.

We are noted in the industry for a high-performing battery system, but I feel another reason for interest in Puredrive is that we manufacture in the UK and are well positioned to provide excellent customer service, which is even more important in a rapidly growing market.

Our battery systems are designed to take advantage of the variable rate tariffs on the market, which allow energy to be bought and stored in the battery at a lower cost, then discharged back to the grid when it is expensive.

We develop our own software, which means we can move swiftly and support new tariffs that come on the market from the various different energy suppliers.

The future is electric

We’re also excited about the launch of our new electric vehicle (EV) charger; EVs are the future of the motor industry because they produce zero emissions, and therefore play a crucial role in the path to reaching net zero.

This is why the UK government has legislated to ban all new sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2030, and stated that by 2035 all new motor vehicles must be fully electric.

Accessibility to EV chargers is one of the barriers currently preventing a more mainstream shift to electric cars; this issue is extremely apparent in highly urbanised areas, where availability and proximity to public EV chargers is challenging.

As a result the recent and future growth of the EV market will ultimately require more EV chargers to be installed at UK homes.

Integrated tech

The Puredrive EV charger and battery communicate seamlessly and are visible on the same app. This allows homeowners to make use of all of their solar energy, and both the EV charger and battery can benefit from cheaper variable rate tariffs.

This integration is critical for cutting energy costs but equally important in its role supporting and protecting our current grid infrastructure, which is becoming strained as the planet becomes increasingly electrified.

Switching lithium for sodium

Governments are setting aggressive targets as we push to reach net zero emissions and limit global warming to 1.5 °C. The UK government has pledged to become net zero by 2050.

Industries are developing the technology to help us to reach these targets, but we must also consider resource limitations such as the lithium supply required for batteries.

Alternative resources are being sought now; at Puredrive we are developing a sodium-ion battery energy system that will be the first of its kind in a commercial home battery system that is wholly made in the UK.

Sodium-ion batteries have a number of benefits; they are less reactive than lithium-ion batteries, which improves safety. Sodium can also be sourced locally in the UK, making it more sustainable than lithium mining. This significantly reduces the transport costs and carbon footprint of battery energy storage, helping to bring us closer to the net zero target.

As the sixth-most abundant element on Earth, the use of sodium can also help to minimise supply chain shocks that can increase the price of production.

All these developments will help to push energy bills down while bringing us closer to net zero.

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