An Interview with Powerstar's CEO, Dr Alex Mardapittas
Ahead of our Energy Forum's "Secure & Sustainable" session on the 24th of May, we caught up with Powerstar's CEO, Dr Alex Mardapittas, who kindly answered some questions about his involvement in our event and the transition to a net-zero economy.
What is your session all about and what will you be sharing?
"The session will outline the growing challenge that organisations face in terms of balancing the various elements of what is often referred to as the ‘Energy Trilemma’. Energy that is affordable, sustainable, and reliable is vital for any organisation, but ensuring each aspect of the energy trilemma without compromising the others is a difficult balancing act. The session will highlight ways that technology can be used to bolster energy efficiency and make more intelligent use of electricity to reduce costs, improve sustainability and protect against the risk of power disruption."
How important is an event like Innovation Zero to help accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon economy?
"Events like Innovation Zero are vital, especially for organisations that understand the need to play their part in the energy transition but are unsure how to progress due to a lack of understanding of the options available or concerns about the financial or productivity implications of committing to a net zero pathway.
Innovation Zero is an invaluable opportunity to communicate to businesses, the public sector, and government alike that far from representing an additional cost, the transition to net zero when implemented properly and with the right advice is an opportunity for significant growth as well as significantly lower energy costs."
"Energy efficiency will need to play a key role if the UK is to meet its net zero ambitions, particularly if we want energy to be as affordable as possible during the transition."
How do you currently see the UK leading that change? Any examples?
The UK became the first major economy to commit to net zero in 2019, and while some aspects of our approach to that goal has been brought into question, for example a perceived lack of support for energy efficiency measures, the progress elsewhere has been remarkable. Nearly 30% of offshore wind capacity globally is located in British waters, while solar saw an 80% growth in new installations during the first half of 2022. To balance out this plentiful but inflexible renewable generation, the UK is seeing record-breaking growth in energy storage, which will play a key role in balancing the grid and reducing reliance on fossil fuel generation. In 2022 the pipeline of battery storage projects doubled, while operational storage capacity increased by 45%.
What is Powerstar currently doing in its progress/journey towards net-zero?
Powerstar as a business has committed to achieving net zero ahead of the UK’s collective 2050 deadline and has committed to a net zero policy and carbon reduction plan that will initially look to achieve net zero for both our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions before a renewed focus on Scope 3.
A major part of this strategy is a belief that we should practice the same energy efficiency standards that we recommend to our customers, and our Sheffield manufacturing site and headquarters incorporates voltage optimisation as well as rooftop solar generation. The first installation of our combined battery, rapid EV charging and solar PV technology was also at our own head office, which is used to charge our fleet of electric company vehicles.
"Events like Innovation Zero are vital, especially for organisations that understand the need to play their part in the energy transition but are unsure how to progress..."
What policy priorities do you see as critical to enable your sector and clients to grasp the opportunity presented by the low carbon transition?
Energy efficiency will need to play a key role if the UK is to meet its net zero ambitions, particularly if we want energy to be as affordable as possible during the transition. Put simply, the cheapest and cleanest unit of energy is the one that we don’t use, which is why energy efficiency is so key to solving the energy trilemma.
While a commitment to energy efficiency was stressed last November, much of that focus is on housing stock, and there is a lack of clarity in terms of how businesses will be supported with green financing to allow them to deliver the same energy efficiency improvements. A credible net zero investment strategy that plugs the current gaps in available funding for businesses looking to deliver net zero is critical.