I recently had the opportunity to attend the inaugural 2016 Environmental Leader Conference in Denver, Colorado, which brought together environmental practitioners and thought leaders from across the U.S. economy. Having had the opportunity to participate in a panel with General Motors and 3M and interact with a wide range of attendees in a number of insightful presentations, three very clear trends related to renewable energy emerged from the event:
Check. We have reached a point where almost every organization understands that renewable energy is a good thing that can provide value to their economic and sustainability bottom lines. This is a major hurdle cleared.
Implementation? Plenty of questions to address.
We heard questions from executives related to renewable energy technology, economics, on-site/off-site considerations, risk management, price forecasting, selecting partners and starting points necessary to make renewable energy work for them. And the simple, honest answer to all these questions is, “it depends.” Every organization is unique and there’s no single prescriptive solution.
However, we’ve reached a point of market maturity in which implementation questions have answers and there are proven examples to emulate. Both General Motors and 3M Corporation described their own successful efforts to identify, analyze and execute renewable energy projects for their organizations.
Greater consideration of third–party consultation.
The complexities of renewable energy project identification, project and developer diligence, economic and risk analytics, project selection, negotiations and contracting have led many large C&I energy users to work with a partner. Again, both General Motors and 3M were able to share their experience leveraging an independent renewable energy advisor.
Adding dedicated renewable expertise to an organization’s own capabilities greatly increases the organization’s ability to create and implement a strategy that will help lower energy costs and achieve sustainability goals well into the future.