Today’s retail energy and sustainability managers need innovative ways to add renewables to their energy portfolio that work with a mix of owned and leased buildings. Fortunately, the maturing renewable market has yielded new strategies that offer cost savings and long-term benefits. These strategies require a complex blend of technology, financing options, vendors and partners.
Increasingly, retail energy and sustainability managers are under more pressure than ever to navigate these waters for three main reasons:
- A demand from customers and stakeholders to reduce GHG emissions.
- A need for risk mitigation against future energy prices and legislation.
- A desire to lower overall energy spend, and leverage dropping price of renewables.
The motivation to use renewable energy is more than just sustainability. Large enterprises recognize that though energy prices are low now, they need to protect themselves against future increases. However, they are challenged to find technologies that will deliver a high return on investment, a task complicated by the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. This is especially true for retailers that lease, rather than own, many of their buildings. In the retail industry, where margins are slim and energy costs are high, there’s an enormous opportunity to save both money and reduce environmental impact — with the right mix of renewable sources.
Since many facilities are not suited for on-site generation, retailers can still access the potential savings of switching to renewables by developing a new mix of renewable strategies without adding any technology on-site. But understanding how to traverse this bold new world and achieve the best possible outcomes isn’t easy.
There are more options for companies to utilize renewable energy than ever before. While this demonstrates a dramatic and positive shift in the business community’s ability to operate more sustainably and lower energy costs, navigating the complex new renewable landscape can be a formidable task. Engaging an energy advisor that is an expert in building a multi-faceted strategy is key to ensuring a strong return on investment and satisfying internal and external stakeholders.
So what strategies can retailers use to replace brown energy with green — and capture some potential savings all while reducing their overall CO2 footprint and risk exposure? The following table outlines the strategies available to companies, and examines the advantages and challenges of each.
For a closer look at what’s driving the renewables market and for information on strategies outside on-site projects, download the “Renewable Energy Strategies Every Retailer Needs to Know” whitepaper, written in collaboration with the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA).
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