ANDOVER, Mass. — Schneider Electric has introduced the New Energy Opportunities (NEO) Network™, a collaborative online platform to help commercial and industrial companies quickly identify and vet renewable energy, cleantech, and energy-efficiency prospects.
The network was developed to simplify and accelerate the buying process by connecting end users to viable projects and technologies. As a result, companies are able to find the right tools and financial vehicles to meet their sustainability goals — whether it’s a power purchase agreement (PPA) for electricity from a wind farm or distributed solar coupled with energy storage.
The NEO Network joins sustainability and energy managers at Fortune 1000 companies with technology providers, project developers, and affiliates, such as investors, to bring greater transparency and standardization to transactions. Founding participants include AEG, Allergan, Bloom Energy, Equinix, and VF Corp.
Schneider Electric will act as the network moderator, building the platform and qualifying the organizations that participate. The company will lend its energy management and sustainability expertise, which includes managing 40 gigawatts of electricity load in more than 100 countries on behalf of clients.
“Solar or biomass? Grid connected or not? PPA or lease? The endless questions and combinations make it difficult for companies to move their sustainability programs forward with speed and confidence,” said Steve Wilhite, senior vice president of energy and sustainability services at Schneider Electric. “Add in the falling price of renewables and storage, and a mass of new industry players, and the picture gets even more blurred. Our vision is to remove the layers, the complexity, and advance informed decision making and partnerships.”
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, global energy consumption will increase more than 50 percent by 2040, with renewables becoming the fastest growing energy source. In addition, PPAs tied to offsite wind and solar projects more than doubled in the U.S. and Mexico last year. As the need for cleantech grows, along with technology and purchasing options, companies face the challenge of finding an ideal fit to support their climate action and business goals. To address these concerns, the NEO Network allows participants to:
• Discover — Participants have access to a knowledge center with whitepapers, research reports, and market intelligence covering more than 50 countries and regions.
• Connect — Companies create profiles outlining their sustainability objectives, project experience and capabilities, and references. Community forums also allow participants to post questions, join in facilitated discussions, and share best practices.
• Exchange — Participants can collaborate with peers, and search for existing developments based on technology type, project size, and location. They can also engage leading cleantech providers to initiate new sustainability projects.
“We recently contracted 330 megawatts of solar and wind energy through three different power purchase agreements, and understand how complicated the process can be,” said Sam Kapoor, chief global operations officer, Equinix, which delivers interconnection and data center services to companies across the globe. “These are long-term contracts and we can’t afford to lock into agreements with unknown financial risk. A platform such as the NEO Network will be valuable as we look to achieve our goal of 100 percent clean and renewable energy.”
“Climate change is the defining issue of our generation, and we believe that urgent and focused action is needed now,” said Letitia Webster, vice president of global corporate sustainability, VF Corp. “As we take steps toward our 100 percent renewable energy target, the NEO Network is a tool to help navigate the complexities in the market more efficiently, and gather and share best practices.”
For more information about the NEO Network, visit www.neonetworkexchange.com. For additional information on Schneider Electric’s energy and sustainability services, visit www.schneider-electric.com/ess.
Publication date: 8/16/2016