Rebecca Carroll, Director of Market Fundamentals and Analysis at Edison Energy, lays out the nuts and bolts of Edison Energy’s Insights Platform and why the data is only as good as the people behind it.
What kind of impact do you want to make? That’s a question that is often asked at the outset of any Edison Energy client engagement.
With a mission of leveraging its global reach to create positive local impact, Edison’s Insights Platform was launched to help clients manage their energy cost and consumption and track their progress towards meeting their sustainability targets.
The platform provides clients with integrated global data all in one view, detailed tracking and reporting, real-time industry trends, and access to the Insights renewables marketplace.
“Clients can log in and see their information, see the status of their clean energy RFPs and who has participated, and check on the initial results for cash flow expectations – all by themselves and anytime they want,” said Rebecca Carroll, Director of Market Fundamentals and Analysis at Edison Energy. “The concept is that clients can actively participate in their journey.”
But while Insights offers full autonomy, clients typically opt to pair the platform’s industry-leading analytics with Edison’s expert team of analysts and energy supply advisors.
“Clients love the idea of the platform and knowing that they can explore information on their own,” Carroll said. “But they often like to go in with their advisor to show them the most critical pieces of their information. It’s great for them to have that dedicated support to help them understand what they’re seeing.”
Since its launch in 2020, the Insights Platform has evolved dramatically, incorporating cutting-edge automation around data trends, RFP tracking, emissions calculations, energy contract management, Supply and PPA spend, and integrated settlements. RFPs are automated across Edison’s service lines, with automated on-site clean energy RFPs to be launched later this year.
Insights’ interactive renewable energy marketplace helps bring transparency to the utility-scale PPA market by providing actionable offers to Edison clients, while RFP reports offer full access to customized bids, along with the tools to elevate opportunities of most interest. Spend and Settlements reports enable market transparency as soon as a PPA is executed.
The platform also provides portfolio and single project views for RECs and cash flow.
In addition, both conventional supply and renewables clients can view a combined dashboard, which shows how much they spend on electricity or their solar or wind PPAs during any given month, as well as any revenue from PPA contracts. The information is also integrated into a consolidated graphic, enabling clients to see how the renewables piece fits into their overall electricity spend.
“The platform is there to enable our clients, but it is not there as a replacement of their advisors,” Carroll said. “I think some of the other competitors in the market leave it all to technology. They think that clients can just log in, select their PPA, talk to the developer directly, and they’re done. But it’s not that simple.”
That’s because the location, contract terms, and risk profile of one PPA can vastly differ from another. So, while the data is critical, it’s the advisors that give Edison’s offering the edge.
“Having the platform as a tool that enables people to see the data is very useful, but still providing all the expertise and the people behind it is key,” Carroll said. “This isn’t cookie cutter where everyone can just go to market with the same PPA and under the same terms. It takes people who understand the customized needs of each client and why they’re different depending on type of business, risk appetites, and marginal emission reduction goals.”
This is often where clients can differ considerably, with some willing to pay a premium to avoid monthly swings in PPA settlements, while others prefer to look at the expected total contract settlement and are okay with monthly volatility.
“Neither of those answers are wrong necessarily,” Carroll said. “But you need to know what your business is, what your appetite is, what the right answer is for that business. And it’s not the job of our clients to know that – it’s our job, as advisors, to help them ask the right questions so that they can get to the right answer.”
Carroll notes that her team builds its own market forecasts is driven by a deep and nuanced understanding of the wholesale markets.
“We can explain to clients how they are changing,” she said.
That market movement includes impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), still largely unknown, with guidance on implementation expected to be released incrementally throughout the year.
And while there are still questions around many of the provisions included in the IRA, the Edison team has been able to push out new proxy forecasts around market prices based on this seismic shift in policy.
“This is something that clients can take to their Board right now and say, ‘This is what we think this means for prices and impact,” Carroll said. “That immediate reaction that we’re able to give to clients in a world where there’s a lot of volatility and uncertainty, as well as being able to explain why things are happening as opposed to just handing them numbers, is what really sets us apart. Yes, we’re doing the cool calculations and we’re able to make that shift. But ultimately, it’s the people and their understanding of the pieces behind it that really makes us different in the market.”
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