Posted by: Erin Karsten
Head of Business Development – EMEA Renewable Energy Solutions
When we polled the room yesterday at the Global Summit in Paris, it was certainly not surprising to see that only a quarter of those in the room answered “yes” to knowing what renewable energy is all about, but by the end of the session even those who raised their hands had questions, so surely there is still a lot for our corporate occupiers to learn. It reinforced the notion that there is still a lot of work to be done and clients definitely need advisors to help move them through the complex world of renewable energy and all the opportunities it presents.
In the end, I was extremely pleased with the panel discussion that we delivered and while I provided the basic background and context for renewable energy technologies, procurement strategies, and provided an overview of the financial incentives driving the argument for renewable energy, Brendan Fogarty from SEGRO built on that overview, with some examples of projects they have been doing and the challenges that they face. SEGRO has been a leader amongst Landlords in their pursuit of delivering renewable energy projects, from re-thinking leasing structures and creating a policy for them to be able to “lift and shift” solar panels so that they can meet the different needs of tenants and their rooftop equipment. Coca Cola’s Rudi Sueys, further added views and commitment to sustainability, reminding us all that energy efficiency projects have to come first to make renewable energy efficient too! He provided some great projects that they have been involved in across the globe from the US and Mexico to Belgium and Italy.
Dr. Rainer Blank, from Deutsche Bank, who moderated our panel, emphasised the importance of client advisors after one participant asked, “How can we meet with 20% renewable legislative requirements in places like Westminster in London and all across Germany, particularly in urban centres?” The answer is there are lots of considerations – from delivery of wood pellets for biomass boilers on already congested London streets to solar panel shading from adjacent buildings to drilling boreholes for ground source heat pump systems in underground car parking (which can be done with about 10ft of clearance) – but Rainer’s point was this, why, as corporates, they need good advisors. The renewable energy landscape in the last 2 years has been a rapidly changing landscape: from increasing legislative requirements for carbon reduction and energy efficiency, to changes in the financial incentives like Feed-in Tariffs – some being cut – some being added – to aggressive price reductions for solar panels after many companies went bankrupt or entered into administration this summer and also to understanding the technical and physical limitations of these systems as noted above.
So what did we learn? Walking away from yesterday…even as the speaker – there is still lots of be done…particularly educating clients – even those who already think they know all they need to know about renewable energy. When they stop having questions then I can hang up my hat and retire. But until then…I’ve got a mission…to spread the word. The theme for this year’s CoreNet, is Social Dynamics and how blogs, video and audio recordings on the web, LinkedIn and Twitter can help spread the word…so off I go to post my blog link on Twitter, LinkedIn and when CoreNet posts the audio recording of our session…post that too.