Australians are likely to experience a 53.8 per cent increase in energy prices in Victoria from the fourth quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019. Other states are expected to see similar increases, according to predictions from the Australian Energy Regulator. For Victoria, this would mean the dollar per megawatt hour could jump from $84 to $129.
Despite a strong surge in prices, the four-year forecast estimates a decline in Victoria to $68.5 per megawatt hour by the fourth quarter of 2019, but it could climb to $80.4 per megawatt hour in the first quarter of 2021. New South Wales is expected to see a lower first quarter in 2019 than Victoria, but prices remain slightly higher throughout the year. In the first quarter of next year, NSW is expected to reach $105 per megawatt hour and it should increase to $71 per megawatt hour in the final quarter of 2019.
With numbers fluctuating in the next five years, saving on energy where possible is becoming increasingly important to companies, including food and beverage manufacturers. MHE-Demag helps businesses reduce their energy consumption and minimise costs by offering specialised equipment and services. The company provides loading bay solutions for food storage and cold chain operators, with products including dock levellers, dock shelters and doors.
MHE-Demag managing director Vince Di Costanzo said the company’s unique, customisable range of products and staff expertise helps create long-term savings. “With energy costs being higher than any other country, it’s a real focal point for business survival,” he said.
In late-2018, the company completed a project with a large food supplier in Melbourne, which stocks a range of fresh and frozen foods as well as drygoods and paper products. “They do everything from jarred and canned food to oils, pastas, rice and an array of seafood. It’s quite a covering,” said Di Costanzo. MHE-Demag installed dock levellers, rapid rail doors, high-speed roller shutters and door seals at the factory.
“We have high-speed, insulated freezer doors that maintain temperatures from sub-zero to five degrees. By maintaining environmental integrity in the cold storage environment, it maximises energy efficiency.” Dock shelters and seals for incoming and outgoing products helped achieve that, he said.
A hands-on role throughout the project was required to ensure the client received the best service and made cost savings where possible. By offering personalised project management, MHE-Demag was able to steer the company away from a more expensive door installation to an option that would lower their energy bill. “Where they were wanting two doors in one location, we were able to create a one door solution, meeting the same requirements.” The change in design means the company only needs to run power to a single door.
“In our product offering, we were able to provide the shelter and seals to the required measurements and we’ve created better insulation for this company. The energy loss has been dramatically reduced,” said Di Costanzo.
Service after Installation
MHE-Demag also believes in preventative maintenance and ongoing support that will ensure the products last. “We make sure there’s an inspection carried out on all of the seals. Where ever there’s a sign of wear and tear we can replace, or repair, or put other protocols in place,” said Di Costanzo.
However, there are already measures in place to minimise products breakage once it is installed. The door curtains on MHE-Demag’s high speed doors, for example, are self-repairing. If the door curtain comes off of the track, for instance in the event of impact with a forklift, the system will guide the curtain back into the tracks on the next cycle. They are made without any rigid pieces, making them safe for use by equipment and staff.
“To minimise energy consumption, a zipper style fixture of the curtain retention within the guides or tracks creates a more reliable seal for minimal temperature or air loses compared to many rapid roller doors with fabric curtains,” said Di Costanzo.
With many of the products, such as the dock leveller, manufactured in Australia, MHE-Demag is also able to provide items quickly. “We have better control of the manufacturing and we tend to have a higher quality, stronger product,” he said.
Energy consumption grows
As Australian energy consumption continues to grow, MHE-Demag aims to help companies steer clear of unnecessary power usage. An Australian government Department of the Environment and Energy, 2018 Australian Energy Update report shows that the electricity supply, transport and manufacturing sectors accounted for almost three-quarters of Australian energy consumption in 2016–17. The electricity supply sector only accounted for 28 per cent of energy consumption in 2016–17.
Australia’s energy consumption rose by 1.1 per cent in 2016–17 to reach 6,146 petajoules. This compares to an average growth of 0.8 per cent a year over the past 10 years. Growth in 2016–17 was 65 petajoules, the same amount of energy as filling a 55-litre tank of petrol 34 million times, the government report indicates.