The global demand for energy is increasing. Consequently, energy prices are rising worldwide. Additionally, the supply of fuel to countries that need to import energy supplies is increasingly under threat as they are vulnerable to the whims of the suppliers and political events outside their control. The price of Middle Eastern oil is affected by instability in the region.
Energy consumption examples
The United Kingdom (U.K.) is no longer fuel-rich, with North Sea oil and gas production decreasing. In 2010/2011 its gas imports rose by 12%. Twenty-eight per cent of U.K. electricity is produced in coal-fired power stations. In 2010, 18.4 million tonnes of coal were home produced, while a further 26.5 million tonnes were imported from countries as diverse as Indonesia, Colombia, Russia and Australia (source: Coal UK; see also Table 1).
Table 1: Sources of UK electric supply
Demand for energy within the U.K. is increasing as offices, businesses and homes use more electronically powered tools and gadgets. The expectation of new builds having air conditioning as well as central heating adds to a growing energy demand. A rising population (from 60m in 2005 to 62m in 2011 for the UK and globally from 6.5bn in 2005 to 7bn in 2011) inevitably has a corresponding rise in energy demand.
Climate change resulting in higher temperatures causes a greater demand for air conditioning and other cooling sources, whereas lower temperatures cause an increasing demand for heating.
Natural disasters can place an unexpected demand on energy supplies. Following the Japanese tsunami in March 2011 it was necessary to close nuclear power stations for safety reasons. This, combined with the many destroyed power lines, means power shortages within Japan are still an issue.
An introductory guide to 'ISO 50001:2011 Energy Management Systems – Requirements with guidance for use' is available to buy from the BM TRADA bookshop in a paperback or e-book format. The publication gives an overview of the elements of an energy management system. It will enable you to check what is required before applying for certification and show you where to find support to become ISO 50001 ready. Confirmation that your organization conforms to the energy management systems standard may be obtained through self-evaluation and self-declaration, or through certification by an external organization.