Software For Renewable Energy – This is part 1 of a three-part series on the commercial pressures facing renewable energy (RE) professionals in today’s market. I highlight the many advantages that targeted software offers to accelerate RE over generic software.
Commercial renewable energy (RE) projects are difficult to scale. These projects are complex, risky and capital intensive. They also require different teams of internal and external experts to work to tight deadlines at different times during the project period. The need to address complexity through complex collaboration creates a high pressure environment where success or failure is often not determined by the quality of the site or resource.
RE developers are truly the heroes of the RE industry. These market players are responsible for adding 1.2 terawatts of new RE capacity and attracting $2.6 trillion in new investment over the past decade. While we often get the big news of Amazon, BP or Macquarie buying operational wind and solar farms, we rarely appreciate the hard work involved in getting these projects off the ground.
As the world strives to move towards net zero, the role of RE developers in creating “ready to label” projects for lenders to finance and buy companies and pension funds is becoming increasingly important. Capital demand for RE projects is expected to reach USD 11 trillion globally by 2050. Although a 10 MW solar or wind farm can be built in 2-3 months, the process of developing commercial RE projects takes several years. To meet demand, we need to speed up the development process without compromising the quality of the project.
How RE developers get things done isn’t just about being competitive, it’s about future proofing. To keep the global average temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, RE will provide 70-85% of all global energy by 2050. This will quadruple in <30 years.
As someone who has spent a lot of time developing RE projects, the added pressure to grow market share from 28% to 80% in <30 years worries me a bit. We claim that we are still old when it comes to the adoption of digital technologies by developers. In fact, for more than a decade, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies have ignored the unique needs and pain points of RE professionals—preferring to treat them as "good" customers in the world of infrastructure accounting. Big
The lack of dedicated software specifically for RE workflows has forced RE developers to rely on generic solutions – forcing them to rely on Asana, Monday or Clickup to handle everything from pipeline and case management to contracts, permits, reporting and collection of money. . It is essential to every RE professional’s toolbox in the RE market, where every stakeholder in the value chain needs to access and gain value from software built by industry experts – software that reduces friction, improves efficiency and lowers the soft costs of development. .
While Asana, Monday, and Clickup offer some useful scheduling tools for setting goals and tracking issues, these platforms are designed with other software companies, marketing agencies, and marketers in mind. Looking at the examples of Asana, for example, it’s natural to think how a workflow platform backed by L’Oréal, Sony Music and John Lewis could benefit the PE industry.
Let’s face it, trying to manage a serious RE project and/or finance business on a common platform that isn’t purpose-built means that RE companies will end up ignoring the fundamental changes in today’s market. of great importance in general.
Data analysis refers to site selection – accessing and reviewing well, well and other geospheric data to decide where to build. Due diligence includes evaluating documents to determine which departments (eg, technical, legal, investment, consulting) will work best for the project. Financial models live in Excel and define project performance from a risk-benefit perspective for all stakeholders.
For users of Asana, Monday and Clickup, these key functions of the RE business, involving data analysis, relevant engagement and financial models, easily capture the core functionality they offer. Don’t get me wrong – dashboards, timelines, calendars, Gantt charts and views are important for collaboration and better security than email. But geospatial data, documents, and spreadsheets are the main file types in the RE world, and these don’t integrate well (or at all) with platforms primarily designed to support the development of digital products (as opposed to power plants).
Of course, RE developers are not the only players in the RE market lacking targeted SaaS. RE investors and advisors are also looking for software designed to help them achieve their goals. The prequalification and due diligence process for RE investments is somewhat inefficient. The flow of information from project teams to investment and consulting teams is unstructured and email-driven, with fragments of project results that analysts must constantly collect and recreate. In fact, in our own research, we found that RE investors and advisors spend 33% of their time finding the right information and 67% of their time analyzing that information. Imagine how much faster RE project funding would go if investment and advisory teams spent 100% of their time analyzing the right data?
Knowing the pain of growing commercial RE, our team of energy, investment and technology leaders at Enian have built a business platform to meet the specific needs of RE professionals. The goal is simple: reduce friction during the project lifecycle by facilitating online collaboration between RE professionals.
Geospatial data analytics, analytics and financial models are at the heart of how this platform works – including task tracking, goal setting, planning and reporting. We call it “Project Manager”.
Financial modeling and analysis are important tasks that all RE professionals know well. A good project model will evolve to accurately reflect the new reality of the project as the project matures – becoming more complex and closer to the reality on the ground with each new phase.
Many types of project models are created for different purposes – these models together form the financial history of the project team’s progress. Seeing how models evolve to share learning between teams is an important part of being competitive and effective in today’s fast-paced marketplace. It is important to have a regular reporting process to identify investment opportunities and keep current investors updated with project KPIs. But unfortunately, the best financial modeling tool out there – MS Excel – doesn’t work well with Asana, Monsoon or Clickup.
Project Manager is designed to easily integrate with ExcelOnline and Smartsheet, so teams of professionals can manage their work in the cloud efficiently and securely. Teams with a project manager can create unlimited financial dashboards linked to each model and can automatically push or pull values between the reporting and modeling environments. It’s seamless. No need to switch from existing tools – just select the cells you want to report on in the project manager dashboard and away you go.
Technical, legal and financial due diligence is an important part of the life of an RE project. Similar to how financial models evolve with new data, projects mature through documentation. Feasibility studies, environmental impact statements, site designs and drawings, contracts and agreements, building permits, grid connection applications, etc. they must be carefully collected, co-developed and co-evaluated at each stage. Many GB of files accumulate in this process – making it easy to overlook or lose things.
From consulting engineers, well operators and environmental consultants to insurers, legal and financial advisors, external partners help develop project documentation. These external teams work more effectively with project development teams by having structured, secure access to the information they need to do their work.
Enian Project Manager is designed to reduce friction in each of these relationships – providing a simple, secure and friendly user experience that gives project managers complete transparency about what important information they can access, when and where for what purpose Never miss a thing.
We have spent a lot of time studying what makes commercial RE projects fail. The main reason why renewable projects fail is uncertainty about the state of the grid. Whether you are developing rooftop solar panels for commercial owners or trying to promote rural wind farms, knowing the local grid situation – the location of connection points or saturation – is key to project success.
Unfortunately, high-quality, granular, pore-level data is the most difficult information. Information on the location of existing power plants, transformer stations, transmission and distribution lines is completely missing. In fact, most RE professionals sometimes Google or pay big bucks to energy data providers to access these important details. Fortunately, Enian Project Manager is powered by the world’s largest database describing power plants and grid infrastructure for 195 countries. To own this
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