Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency Adoption Challenges
Even though there has been some progress in adopting renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions and technologies, the scale, speed and its impact is far from reaching its potential. The slow rate of deploying clean energy solutions is largely explained by simple economics and risk. Most clean energy solutions have relatively large up-front investment costs, with savings in energy usage creating financial break-evens that occur years or decades in the future. In addition, many solutions are early in their lifecycle, posing some risk as to their true effectiveness. So it’s little wonder that government subsidies have a major role in helping tip the economics of clean energy deployments.
There are three important characteristics of this landscape. First, clean energy is extremely dynamic. Technologies, energy pricing, subsidy programs and resource-availability are continually and rapidly changing. Clean energy solutions that were cost-ineffective last year, may be cost-effective today. An expensive energy audit performed on a corporate office last year is likely to be outdated today. Second, the decision to invest in clean energy is local, made by individual asset owners (corporations, governments or households), most without teams of professional energy advisors. Third, the economics and risks of clean energy investments are specific to a particular location. Energy solutions for one building will be completely different for another across the street.
This dynamic and local landscape is very well suited to information technology solutions. PSI is in early stages of partnering with innovative technology startups and leading government laboratories to create a clean energy decision-making platform to help individual asset owners quantify the economics and risk of various clean energy alternatives, customized to their specific building, asset mix and location, while continually accounting for new information on technologies, prices, subsidies, renewable and non-renewable resources as it becomes available. By providing building/fleet/asset owners with tailored information that quantifies their economics and risks, they will make better decisions on which clean energy solutions will best meet their energy, economic, risk and environmental goals.
While many clean energy decision tools already exist, our approach is different. We strive to create a platform that:
- Builds a first-pass analytic test-bed for building/fleet owners to scope, simulate and compare clean energy alternatives against an analytic baseline model of their own energy profile. This will help reduce the time and cost of identifying their best clean energy strategy. Our information solutions are not meant to replace detailed energy studies by experts and consultants. Rather, we help guide where those studies should focus, so that their analytic effort and resources are most effective.
- Helps organize the vast amounts of publicly-available clean energy information, capitalizing on the US and other Governments Open Government Initiatives to harness information that is distributed and spread across many disparate utility, scientific, government, and corporate silos.
- Offers a secure, cloud-based repository for asset owners to collect, store, process and access private energy information streamed from real-time sensors, satellite and other remote sensing platforms.
- Creates a more comprehensive, end-to-end, systems integration approach to clean energy planning by improving interoperability and integration between today’s myriad disparate and siloed analytic software tools.
- Provides a more user-friendly and simple interface environment for asset-owners (non-scientists) to search, access and manage the vast quantities of energy data and analytic tools using intuitive geospatial and collaboration solutions that provide the appropriate context for decision making.
If successful in this journey, the platform will provide corporate and government building/fleet /asset owners with energy planning tools that are much more focused and useful for their needs – providing much needed transparency and customized understanding into the real economic impacts and risks of clean energy solutions.