The need to decarbonize society has never been more apparent. Around the world, governments, corporations, and private citizens are doing what they can to shift to greener energy solutions. At the same time, it is becoming inherently clear that there is no one-size- fits-all solution to make the energy transition a reality.
That said, the occasionally fragmented nature of the renewable energy space can make coordinating the right solutions difficult. Often, the headache of dealing with multiple providers, with different contract lengths and details, means the “right” solution may not be realistic.
In the end, it is important for the energy transition to deliver solutions that alleviate headaches, not create more. At the same time, to accelerate the necessary shift to green energy, it’s crucial to always utilize the most suitable technology, especially when planning long-term energy systems.
Highly modular solutions can allow businesses to tailor energy solutions to their specific needs, cutting out the need to either overcomplicate operations with multiple contract partners, or select solutions that may not be optimal. This brings the idea of energy as a service to the forefront—having one partner who can supply a company or organization with flexible energy solutions can transform the process of decarbonizing an organization.
For many commercial and industrial corporations, operations are broad, both from an operational as well as a geographical standpoint. For companies in the food and beverage industry, a solar rooftop-plus-storage installation may be perfect for powering a packaging plant – but a biogas installation may be a better fit for a food production plant. The Energy as a Service model aims to close the gap between these vastly different technologies for companies looking to decarbonize their operations.
Moving away from a fragmented renewable energy industry is a natural progression of the industry. The reality is, renewables inherently rely on finding better fits for energy production technologies. The fossil fuel one-size-fits-all model simply does not fit when you are dealing with multiple technologies with vastly different strengths. The key here is for energy providers to make the consumer side as simple as it was in the days of one-size-fits- all fossil fuel solutions.
This necessitates a bit more heavy lifting in terms of building up competencies across technology types, but in the end can lead to a vastly better experience and more efficient operations.
One of the biggest hurdles may be communicating to these organizations that there are ways for them to better optimize the way they use energy. In this regard, it is important to educate on the process and the possible outcomes of decarbonizing a company’s operations. Understanding the benefits that can be seen over the long term will lead to more educated decision making, and ultimately a more rapid rollout of renewable energy.
In the end, finding the right solution will have a major effect not only for the individual organizations, but will help to set better standards for the industry. More successful case studies and a better overall understanding of the modularity that is possible with renewable energies will prove to be valuable to the greater rollout of zero-carbon technology as a whole.
The time has come to stop looking at innovation in the renewables space as strictly individual tech advancements. There are massive steps being made in terms of optimizing operations that can have a profound impact for many who are looking to decarbonize.
The renewables space has seen decades of innovation, and we now have the opportunity to package these innovations in a way that allows users to benefit from all of them. If the energy transition is to be successful, it is crucial that the most suitable technologies are selected, and more importantly, that the right technology mixes are utilized to truly unlock their benefits.
A modular, zero-carbon, renewable energy future is on the horizon. It’s exciting to watch many of these technologies finally being deployed together, and for individual organizations to benefit from their natural synergies.
—Eren Ergin is CEO of BECIS, an Energy as a Service company working with multinational clients to decarbonize operations.