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Does Adopting Renewable Energy Feel Complex? 4 Considerations to Get You Started

When adopting a renewable energy strategy, here are four considerations all executives should keep in mind that will streamline the process and ensure their end results achieve their sustainability goals.

Shell Energy: A partner in all clean energy needs

Renewable energy procurement can be complex without the proper partner to walk you through the process. Similar to how businesses vary from one another, so will their clean energy needs and goals which means energy transition strategies cannot be one-size-fits-all. Shell Energy works hand-in-hand with customers to create highly customizable plans to achieve their sustainability goals, guiding them towards the structured products, efficiency services, and demand response options that are the right fit for them.

Given that the field of renewable energy is so diversified, executives who are starting from square one can often be overwhelmed when defining a comprehensive strategy for energy transition. Fortunately, the industry is maturing and experiencing a paradigm shift, where many of the previous barriers of adoption no longer exist. When adopting a renewable energy strategy, here are four considerations all executives should keep in mind that will streamline the process and ensure their end results achieve their sustainability goals.  

Identify a budget

When beginning on the renewable energy journey, it is important to first establish a set of sustainability goals and a budget — as this will not be a one-size-fits-all type of strategy. 

Understandably, when it comes to adoption of renewable energy, larger corporations have had innate advantages — from being able to work directly with energy developers to bigger budgets and commitment to long-term packages, which were traditionally 10-year contracts. With technology continuing to advance and new players in the space, such as retail suppliers changing traditional energy deals, small and mid-sized corporations no longer need to worry about breaking the bank to adopt a strategy. 

Now there are customizable solutions at all budget ranges, with contracts for as little as five years. By working with a retail supplier, smaller corporations can also now negotiate to fund part of the project — which is a boost to their sustainability portfolio. 

Keep in mind state, federal and global regulations

There are different regulations from state to state, and on federal and global levels; and it’s important to be aware of each when developing a clean energy strategy. Thankfully, the onus of understanding the energy regulations of every market no longer falls on corporations, but rather their retail supplier partner. As retail suppliers are fully ingrained in the industry, their comprehension of cross-border regulations is more in-depth; and the responsibility falls to them to thoroughly explain each applicable mandate to corporation partners. 

Evaluate the benefits of off-site vs. on-site energy

As executives dive deeper into the planning stages of their renewable energy strategy, an aspect that often comes up is whether to utilize on-site or off-site energy, which is simply another way to describe where the energy is being produced (at the actual corporate building or at a grid-scale generator). Not surprisingly, this is one of the easier decisions to make as adopting on-site energy addresses a specific set of needs.

With on-site energy, one of the most important factors will be space. Since it will most likely require the installation of solar panels to generate the energy, corporations need to evaluate the available space they can designate on areas such as rooftops or a car park. Along with the amount of space available, it also comes down to what can feasibly be generated on-site, compared to the corporation’s overall energy load. For example, a corporation with five acres of land to commit for solar panel installation located in a region with low levels of sunshine may find it more cost efficient to utilize off-site options. 

Understand all of your product options

Traditionally, virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs) have been a popular option for energy buyers. However, VPPAs are complicated undertakings for companies; and depending on the terms, can ultimately be counterproductive to achieving a corporation’s goal. This is because VPPAs typically expose customers to an hourly market — with the fixed price of the VPPA being compared against the real-time energy market price, which may not directly tie to what the corporation is paying for energy. Instead, the corporation is paying for energy with its local utility or third-party supplier, thereby potentially increasing the overall energy price to the corporation when netting the difference. 

However, with the landscape shifting, the industry is now seeing an evolution in the types of deals available — such as retail-delivered renewable PPAs. Similar to a VPPA, corporations are offered a fixed price for energy; however, the benefit is that the retail supplier will then absorb the risk in potential price fluctuations that can occur as a result of a real-time market. Additionally, retail-delivered renewable PPAs are eco-friendly because of the sources of the electricity; and their structure enables the development of new renewables projects. 

With the addition of retail suppliers into the energy distribution chain, corporations of all sizes now have a resource that can educate them on the nuances of the industry and secure a renewable energy deal that best fits their business needs.

As the landscape continues to change, choosing the perfect industry partner is becoming essential to understanding this complex space. It is important to evaluate all available options and ensure that any potential partnership helps you achieve your pre-determined sustainability goals. Whether this partner ends up being a retail supplier or working directly with an energy developer, the old barriers for adoption are now dropping and corporate partners have more power than ever before.