The Value of an Independent Advisor

January 30, 2017 Hans Royal

Author: Hans Royal helps the largest institutions and corporations transition to renewable energy

In the wake of our announcement that Renewable Choice has been acquired by Schneider Electric, we’ve received questions from the community about implications for service offerings for corporates, and in particular, whether we will maintain our independence as a renewable energy advisor.  

What we’re happy to share is that the answer to this question is a definitive YES.  One of the key criteria we looked for in a partner was the ability to remain independent and agnostic with respect to renewable energy solutions, because we understand the value to our customers.  Our counterparts within the Schneider Electric Energy & Sustainability Services business are similarly independent; we both work across a variety of technologies, with many different developer & supply partners, and with clients from a cross-section of every major industry vertical.  We do not develop projects, nor are we affiliated with a particular developer or supplier [with the one caveat that Schneider Electric does sell inverter products to some solar developers].

This is not the case with every renewable energy advisor, some of whom are owned by or influenced by developers, utilities, or other power providers.  However, we see our independence as critical to our ability to be an advisor that works for our clients in an unbiased fashion.  A crucial value we bring jointly to our clients is giving them transparency into and a full understanding of the wide menu of renewable options available to them, regardless of supplier or technology.  Although we have long-standing and healthy relationships with most major project developers and environmental attribute suppliers, at the end of the day, we sit on the side of the table with our customers.  

Why do we feel so strongly that our neutrality is important?

Fundamentally, the renewable energy marketplace is a free one.  It is the pressure exerted by available and emerging products and projects that drive market development, create competitive tension, and result in favorable prices and contract terms for our clients.  If we were only to present our clients with projects and products that we were responsible for developing, that competitive tension would dissipate and negatively impact the value of the solution to our client.

Helping our clients choose the right project or product, in the right market, at the right price, and with the right terms is where an independent advisor like Renewable Choice-Schneider Electric provides considerable value.  The nuances of renewable energy execution and risk management can be difficult for buyers to manage on their own.  A reputable, transparent, independent advisor can, and should, provide deep, but agnostic, expertise in order to help organizations meet their goals in a credible, reliable way.

How do we do this?

  • We maintain an intimate familiarity with the global energy market and develop strong relationships with suppliers around the world.
  • We run open market sourcing processes across developers and technologies to secure the best possible projects and products at the best possible price.
  • We educate and engage internal stakeholders in establishing trust in and understanding of the project/product selection process.
  • We assist organizations in identifying the project/product that meets their goals while conducting rigorous evaluation to reduce market, development, regulatory, construction, financial, and operational risks.
  • We help our clients understand the quality of a project/product and provide perspective on market conditions in order to negotiate favorable contract terms.
  • We offer expert perspective on contractual terms that have the potential to impact the financial performance and accounting treatment of the project/product selected.
  • We support our clients in communicating and promoting the importance of their purchase and in using their project/product to achieve their environmental, social, and economic goals.

For more than 15 years, Renewable Choice has taken an unaffiliated, unbiased, portfolio approach to helping organizations choose cleaner energy—and we have no intention of stopping now. We invite you to reach out to our team if you have any additional questions.

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