Building and scaling a renewable energy program requires navigating a range of challenges. There is often tension between the ambitious targets set by executive stakeholders and the under-resourced team members responsible for driving the energy management program, often resulting in sluggish progress toward renewable energy goals.
While misalignment is a common occurrence among organizations, it’s not the way it has to be. There are steps that organizations can take to set realistic renewable energy goals that translate to successful implementation and scaling of their renewable energy program across the enterprise.
Stakeholder alignment is the foundation of any successful strategy—and renewable energy programs are no exception. While targets are being set, all relevant stakeholders need to be involved in the conversation so that buy-in and alignment can occur early in the process. This conversation should include discussing organizational priorities, defining desired results, and identifying trade-offs of different types of renewable energy solutions.
To help drive this alignment, organizations can create cross-functional groups of decision-makers from each department. The variety of inputs will help strengthen the business case for the program and increase the visibility of the organization’s renewable energy efforts. Without a foundation of alignment, organizations will have a much harder time implementing a successful renewable energy program and measuring its impact.
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A resilient renewable energy program will balance the risks and benefits of the market with a blend of short- and long-term strategies. The challenge is, there are often different planning horizons for renewable energy programs compared with other business decisions. Renewable energy or emissions reduction goals may target 2030 and beyond, while the established business cycle is much shorter. Organizations are often hesitant to commit resources beyond the immediate planning horizon. This creates a challenge for implementing the medium- and long-term strategies that can deliver significant economic and environmental results and limits the types of renewable energy projects an organization can utilize.
Overcoming this barrier is a matter of factoring decarbonization goals into the broader business strategy for the long-term. While challenging, prioritizing the diversity of your portfolio’s renewable energy sources is an essential step in scaling your renewable energy program.
Reaching your renewable energy goals starts with understanding all the options for implementation. Organizations can model the potential carbon reduction impact of various renewable energy options to find the best fit for their strategy. This will vary based on the business model—lease vs. franchise—the intensity of energy consumption, timeline, and financial need. Modeling will also allow organizations to consider the potential risks of different solutions and how a volatile energy market may affect the strategy.
It is important to find solutions that can provide a material benefit back to the organization to help build the program’s business case—as well as excitement among stakeholders.
While there are a variety of renewable energy options, two common solutions that can drive strong results are renewable energy PPAs and tax equity. Both solutions are a great starting point for capitalizing on low-hanging fruit and can help move the needle on your renewable energy goals.
As more companies prioritize emissions reduction goals, the demand for renewable energy will skyrocket—leaving late adopters with a constrained supply. The risk of inaction is not only a steep price tag but potential misalignment with regulation and customer expectations.
While there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for keeping emissions reduction as a key business priority, setting realistic goals and staying ahead of the demand curve will keep your renewable energy program moving in the right direction.
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