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CleanTech Development Investing

Customer’s Drivers and Utility Project Pro Forma Guide the Tech to Integrate

As I push forward with an agenda of bringing green affordable energy to the masses, I sometimes forget that what we know within the industry isn’t always understood by customers.

Here’s an example.

While I will always design and build a customer-centric system, let’s be clear what that is. A customer-centric system by design, is one that is designed and built to meet the drivers and motivators of the customer, and one that invests the right amount capital to deliver it and not a penny more.

If a customer is driven solely by cost, then we design accommodating that. If a customer is driven solely by GHG impact, then we design to that. And so on.

The important elements are critical at the start where you use a consultative approach to pull the motivations out of a customer, even if they’re not immediately obvious, and you design a system that produces the best project pro forma for that customer and utility. The project pro forma, for us, because we want to own the asset, is critical because there is no room to overspend and not generate a return on it.

If we’re designing and meeting the desires of the customer, whatever they may be, and we can then design integrated solutions that ensure we’re making the return we’d like, then we’re in a sweet spot.

There are dozens and dozens of variables and inputs that allow us to build a project pro forma model, and among the key ones is to ensure that both customer and us agree on the base assumptions on energy costs, in the do-nothing or no-change scenario, and we build from there.

The critical piece in our ingredients when it comes to designs, is to integrate technologies, that when properly utilized, help us and the customer achieve the desired outcomes.

Fundamentally that means that we are highly likely including green technologies that enable us to meet base load energy loads at minimum, and maybe some of the peak. The more that 99.9999% reliability is required, then other technologies get incorporated into designs because they meet the clients’ objectives.

The project pro forma is the decider in our ability to select technologies. Regardless of customer objectives, the best pro forma is always going to win. In my humble opinion, green technologies happen to be components of those designs because over a 20 to 30 horizon, they beat out many commodity-fuel driven systems because they don’t have the ongoing costs.

Natural gas is a great solution for peaking and back up, and generating significant process loads as required. Then the alternative play is to look to green the natural gas with hydrogen and/or RNG to offset the costs of carbon taxes over time.

Our software allows us to interact with dozens of technologies and how they best integrate to meet the clients’ and our needs.

Client needs drives the initial design considerations, and the project pro forma creates the output to select the right technologies to integrate.

This isn’t complicated, but compared to the stale non-customer-centric energy model of today, it may seem like brain surgery.