Financing the Road to Energy Independence

Oct. 29, 2018
Microgrid and sales leaders from Siemens discuss how financing innovations are changing the face of future energy independence for enterprises, municipalities and more.

Hear from both Clark Wiedetz, Siemens’ microgrid director, and Chase Dougherty of Siemens Financial Services, as they explore how innovations in financing are changing the face of future energy independence for enterprises, municipalities and more. 

Clark Wiedetz,
microgrid director,
Siemens (left) ; and Chase Dougherty,
national sales executive,
Siemens Financial Services

In many areas of the United States, the traditional model for electricity delivery is shifting. Population growth and a move towards decentralized power and distributed energy resources (DERs) are continuing to reform the energy landscape. Facing many challenges and opportunities, the energy sector has undergone a significant market shift over the past 10 years with the growth of renewable generation and DERs. As industrial consumers become “prosumers” – producing their own energy and managing usage independently – alternative sources of power generation must be balanced out to enable safe and cost effective electrical operation. As organizations adapt their energy infrastructure to meet today’s market challenges, private financing is uniquely positioned to take a leading role. Companies, such as Siemens, offer not only the technology and expertise to support this trend, but are guiding customers when it comes to identifying the appropriate funding to promote energy independence.

“With different regulatory legislation in every state, Siemens is aligning its Digital Grid portfolio to help customers not only address, but embrace the shift towards a more intelligent and decentralized grid,” said Wiedetz. “Through optimizing DERs, securing electrification sustainability and financing these capital-intensive projects, Siemens can offer or be part of a turnkey solution for today’s consumers.”

As alternative power generation and decentralized resources continue to expand, organizations are looking for more efficient ways to integrate these intermittent power sources onto the grid. As the market for decentralized energy services grows, financing of projects will have to scale up as well.

“Microgrids are very capital-intensive projects to take on, and we offer a range of financing solutions to support their enablement,” said Dougherty. “We’re continually seeing consistent challenges across industries. There’s a need to find a cost-efficient and sustainable electrification solution for operations and to secure financing for both required equipment and technologies.”

Expertise in action

Siemens is supporting a long-standing industrial customer to optimize their energy usage and infrastructure. A natural disaster has tormented their client’s geographical region. The resulting damage has required the client to seek a new and reliable electrification solution to empower their latest project. Competing with pricing of local utility providers for electric generation, the client desired a solution that would enable them to manage their electric grid both independently and cost effectively.

“Whenever our client has a power disruption, their only recourse was to quickly turn on a standby diesel generator to power up emergency load panels. When the power would go out during operations, they could physically end up rebooting the building automation and IT systems,” said Wiedetz. “Additionally, with non-essential loads not supported, there may be a loss of productivity and revenue for our client as they are unable to continue their operations in a timely manner.”

The provider will now manage their own microgrid, which will use decentralized energy resources and intelligent controls software, to provide reliable power without interruption. All of the project assets will be managed by a Siemens Microgrid Controller. This controller is able to accurately predict power needs and dynamically manage generation and distribution through integrated weather data, load forecasting and load-shed scenarios. In grid-connected mode, the controller will help the provider to reduce peak loads and conduct other energy management optimization to help relieve pressures on the larger grid. In cases of emergency when the grid is down, the controller can operate the facility in island mode utilizing all available DERs. In both scenarios, the software prioritizes the use of the cleanest and most financially beneficial forms of energy – in this case solar and battery storage – within a portfolio of on-site generation sources. Siemens was able to finance all aspects of the project by leveraging a first-of-its-kind financing program called Extended Payment Terms (EPT). This program provides the client up to 180 days to complete product payments.

In cases of emergency when the grid is down, the controller can operate the facility in island mode utilizing all available DERs.

“By leveraging the EPT program, our client was able to acquire their own sustainable source of power through an integrated grid solution with no upfront costs,” said Dougherty. “They will now have a more cost-efficient, reliable source of power to complete their entire construction project.”

Through optimizing DERs, securing sustainable electrification and providing financing, Siemens was able to be part of a complete turnkey solution for its client.

“Projects like this serve as a best-in-class approach to decentralized energy management,” said Wiedetz. “By coupling our financial expertise with intelligent microgrid management software, we are able to deliver efficient, reliable and affordable power to meet today’s critical infrastructure demands.”

Clark Wiedetz is Siemens‘ microgrid director, and Chase Dougherty is national sales executive at Siemens Financial Services. 

This article originally ran on Monitor Daily. 

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