Schneider Electric has launched new services to assist businesses in the adoption of low-cost renewable energy, through power purchase agreements (PPAs) and other projects.
According to the Schneider press release, it says the rapid closures of coal-fired power plants and an increase in the price of large-scale generation certificates — two of several converging events that have caused wholesale prices in Australia’s National Electricity Market to as much as triple since 2016 — have left companies struggling with inflated energy bills and budgets. In parallel, businesses are working to respond to stakeholders or strategic demands for renewable energy adoption and more sustainable operations.
“Our partnership with Schneider Electric has proven valuable as we evaluate renewable energy and cleantech opportunities,” said Bruce Frandsen, Senior Manager of Global Utilities and Sustainability for Equinix, a global interconnection and data center company with facilities in Sydney and Melbourne. “The market knowledge, technical expertise and ability to engage stakeholders has helped us achieve our clean energy procurement and carbon-reduction goals.”
In addition to the consulting services, Schneider Electric is expanding its New Energy Opportunities (NEO) Network to connect Australian companies with resources to efficiently navigate the process of evaluating PPAs, and other renewables and cleantech options. An online community of corporations, developers and solutions providers, the NEO Network gives members a forum to share insights, identify prospects and accelerate projects. It also provides access to exclusive global market intelligence.
Over 70 international organisations are already active in the NEO Network, including Equinix and more than 15 other companies with footprints in Australia.
“The array of technologies, contracting vehicles and market players can hinder companies,” said Steve Wilhite, Senior Vice President of Schneider Electric Energy & Sustainability Services. “However, given the sharp incline of energy prices, organisations need to clear those barriers and act quickly. Prices for wind and solar will continue to fall, and businesses will not only benefit from a financial perspective, but PPAs and similar transactions are ideal to push sustainability initiatives forward.”
Brian Morris, Vice President of Energy & Sustainability Services in Australia, said the opportunity for savings is immense. “According to the Clean Energy Council, renewable generation is expected to almost double from 2016 to 2020, giving companies a broad range of prospects. PPAs in particular have already delivered electricity cost savings between 10 and 50 percent.”
Supported by the NEO Network, the new services include strategic project sourcing, negotiation and execution, including consultation on “club-type” or aggregated PPAs where two or more companies enter into a joint venture to purchase renewables at scale.
Schneider Electric is the world’s largest renewable energy and cleantech consultant to commercial, industrial and institutional (C&I) buyers, having advised on more than 50 percent of all corporate PPAs signed since 2016. This includes the recent design and implementation of renewable energy agreements for Brown-Forman, Digital Realty and Kimberly-Clark.