Management Resources Designed for Energy Projects
Management services specifically designed for renewable energy projects are not new but most people have not heard of these businesses until the recent focus on environmentally responsible energy production. A management resource provides help at all levels of the energy production process.
Most of the older companies began by working in the biomass industry. Biomass can be the wood from forests or the garbage collected in a big city. Today the focus is on biomass energy which promises the potential of converting trash into fuel that can be used to generate electricity.
Previously, companies that now provide management resources may have been involved in the area of waste disposal. Burning household waste used to be a common practice but concerns over toxic smoke and chemicals that could be released as greenhouse gases limited the practice of burning in open pits.
Today in areas where garbage is burned there is a requirement for expensive and closed facilities. More often the management company would be involved in proposing landfill locations and helping a waste company navigate the red tape involved in establishing a new landfill area.
Now the focus is on reuse of biomass as fuel and management resources are involved in the process of using wood waste created by the forest industry and in developing plants to process sewage and to turn waste into usable fuel.
Carbon footprints are part of our language today and the formulas for offsetting the carbon footprint of a power plant of manufacturer can be confusing. The area of carbon capture and storage are new and growing quickly and are a new focus of many of the management services.
Many leading management services were in business for years managing fossil fuel energy development. They have changed their focus to renewable resources. Solar energy is one area that is big business for these management services.
The commercial viability of solar energy will be a reality when solar power reaches grid parity. This grid parity is accomplished when solar energy to power a grid can be produced at the same price as energy from fossil fuels.
Hawaii Was First
Not surprisingly, sunny Hawaii was the first state to achieve grid parity in solar energy. It is predicted the entire U.S. will achieve solar power grid parity by 2015. The number is predicted without subsidies and will be reached first in areas of the country where sunny days are the norm.
The changes in cost are in large part due to lowered costs of solar panels and other equipment now being mass produced in many factories and especially in China. In 2007 the cost of solar energy was $0.25/kWh and by the end of 2011 the cost of solar energy is predicted to be $0.15/kWh and perhaps as low as $0.10/kWH in the sunniest areas of the country.
This is not the price to the end user to buy solar energy produced but the cost of production. Though solar power has been slowly gaining ground for many years, the falling costs are likely to spur the industry to faster growth. Management will be invaluable to large companies as they move to producing solar energy.
Another focus of the management services for renewable energy is wind power. The management is focused on utilities, developers, investors and regulatory authorities. Wind power, like solar energy, is not a new concept but is a renewable energy source whose time has come.
A management service will guide the wind farm project from inception to design through construction to energy production. In the area of wind turbines, this is a valuable service and can help cut through regulatory delays and siting for both land and offshore wind farms.
Management services offer a detailed list of the services they perform for their clients. They will identify and assess potential sites for development and can screen and select the site for a renewable energy installation.
They do land studies and geological studies of the site. They will do assessments of the engineering required and an analysis of potential fatal flaws that could exclude a potential site location.
Perhaps one of the most helpful services is obtaining environmental approval and licensing for the project. Environment impact statements are a requirement that involve convoluted regulations and restrictions. A management company can work through the process and obtain necessary permits and approvals.
Those are only a few of the tasks of management service. From getting public support to obtaining financing, a good management can cut the time required to complete a project and assure the project will pass necessary inspections. They will negotiate sales agreements for equipment, calculate greenhouse gas emission credits and procure the equipment needed for the new facility.
After the facility has been built and is in operation, the management can provide ongoing evaluations and forecasting as well as running fault diagnoses and tracking health and safety management of the project.