The other day on the way home from dropping E off at school, I stopped to chat to a new neighbor who was trying to clean up her yard using a wireless electric leaf blower.

What she described was very similar to what businesses around the world are facing today when they explore their energy solution options. The parallels were uncanny and a significant reminder.

Parallels between shopping for a leaf blower and an energy solution

The Situation

My neighbor’s problem statement and situation when I met her:

There are many factors to consider when deciding between energy solution options
  • I want to keep my yard neat and tidy.
  • Due to inflationary pressures, I can no longer afford someone to look after my yard for me.
  • I have never gardened and don’t know where to begin.
  • I saw this leaf blower on sale and thought it would help me achieve my gardening chores for less than what it would cost to hire someone and be more efficient than other options.

The Problem

  • I have blown leaves for 9 minutes and then the blower died – I barely even got going.
  • I now have to wait for several hours for the blower to charge.
  • The leaves are everywhere and I will now have to try and brush them up before they blow into neighbors’ yards.

The Reality

The reality for my neighbor was:

  • She had a challenge.
  • She had made a purchase without any knowledge of what she needed to make her life easier. Maybe a rake, broom or gardner was actually the better option.
  • She bought the blower without understanding the specifications that were critical to achieving her needs.
  • The purchase massively underperformed.
  • The outcome was a worse situation than when she started and she was out of pocket.

How This Pertains To Energy Solution

The parallels between this story and what we are seeing in the energy industry today for businesses are incredible and the lessons learned are very similar. Like my neighbor, businesses are realizing that they have a huge challenge (we like to see it as an opportunity!) ahead:

  • rising costs of energy;
  • reducing reliability/security;
  • a need to run their operations with lower emissions than they do today.

Those tasked with driving these outcomes, typically, have never considered or bought an energy solution in their careers, and may never have to again. They are sustainability/ESG experts, operations managers, CFOs….. and typically have:

  • The desired outcome (cost, resilience/security, emission reductions);
  • Access to historic data;
  • A budget;
  • Limited energy specific expertise (understandable);
  • Limited time;
  • Do not know where to source the insights they need to move forward;
  • They want a solution but don’t know how to get there!
It's important to consider all factors before purchasing an energy solution

Often this leads to inaction and worst still we have heard many a horror story, the most common we hear are when businesses go one of two ways:

  1. A quick google search to find a potential supplier / selecting a random supplier because they knocked on their door the most, and then being “vendor locked” into whatever it is they want to sell.
  2. Paying a huge sum of money to a consultant with manual processes and a lack of delivery experience, for them to provide a glossy report with some plausible energy solutions but with no way to translate options to real outcomes.

Shopping For An Energy Solution

Either way, the outcome is suboptimal and often results in buying the wrong leaf blower that is permanently being charged, works for a few minutes and results in you getting frustrated and spending more time and money or giving up.

What the energy buyer actually needs is an independent, trusted, integrated and cost-effective way to assess and compare options, actively take control of the buying process, source the optimal energy solution for their specific needs and then monitor and verify the energy solution is performing as it was planned. There are many questions that need to be answered and thousands of variables to consider:

Solar panels are just one example of an energy solution
  • For my site(s) where will I get the best return on investment for my desired outcomes?
  • Based on my location(s), energy use, utility connection, present situation and goals today, what is my optimal energy solution, considering all the plausible variables?
  • Should I consider onsite energy and if so what is the right combination of technologies?
  • What are the specific benefits I can realize?
  • Should I consider renewable energy credits and offsite power purchase agreements?
  • How can I communicate options to my key stakeholders?
  • How can I measure and report the positive outcomes and build trust with my customers, employees and leadership team?

And when they do decide on a path forwards:

  • Which suppliers are right for me in a rapidly changing ecosystem and for my location, system of choice and industry type?
  • How do I as a non-technical buyer ask the market to quote me an energy solution – what language, in what format, what details, how do i want to receive responses etc?
  • How do I assess the options available to me – apples to apples?
  • How do I shortlist and negotiate the best offers?
  • How do I contact the energy solution and ensure I am making the right purchasing decision?

Finding The Right Energy Solution For You

Unlike a nominal fee for a leaf blower, energy systems can cost a significant amount of money and will last 15+ years. But the lack of experience, blind spots, information asymmetry and unsupported decision-making processes have led to shell shock and indecision – meanwhile, energy costs escalate, security/reliability issues impact operations and emissions reduction commitments are missed – costing businesses significantly more money.

When done right though, the value of an energy solution is incredible and we have seen businesses around the world become more profitable and sustainable, as a result of embracing the energy transition opportunity, leveraging technology, and making informed and data-driven decisions. Don’t buy any more dud leaf blowers, time to use industry-leading and fit-for-purpose solutions to adapt purposefully!

VECKTA is leading the way by supporting businesses globally to simplify and accelerate the energy transition. Why not join us on this journey to take control of your energy, and make the switch to a cleaner, more sustainable, and profitable energy future.

Check out a recent article by Calvin Fine for more insights.

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