In part 1 of the blog series, we investigated what the scope of your climate change target could be. In part 2, we looked at the global and national goals you should be aware of. In this blog post, we will shed light on some of the challenges that you may face when setting ambitious goals.
Striking a balance
Setting targets is often about striking a balance between what we know can be achieved with today’s commercially available solutions and what will be available in coming years.
This is why many targets for renewable energy, for example, are 100% by 2030. It is expected that battery storage for solar and renewable energy sourcing for energy supply will be readily available and cost-effective by that time.
Interim targets tend to focus on onsite measures that are known to be cost-effective now, such as energy efficiency and solar panels.
Challenges with achieving ambitious targets
In our experience, both interim and ambitious long-term targets can present challenges for you. Here is a list of some of those challenges.
Ongoing internal support, resources and funding
This is often the most common barrier and challenge; how to gain and sustain the support and funds internally to make efficiency and renewable energy initiatives happen. There are usually limited funds, competing priorities and resources are stretched.
Without internal support at senior level as well as people to develop business cases and implement projects, most programs do not last or succeed.
- One or a few key staff and managers who want to see continued action on renewables and emissions reduction, and make it a priority on an ongoing basis.
- Having clear financing strategies for renewables, efficiency and other emissions reduction measures, including awareness of state and federal incentives such as the Energy Saving Scheme and the Renewable Energy Target, a consideration to fund from Capex or a loan, revolving energy funds or similar.
- Alignment of renewable energy and emissions reduction plans with your organisation’s strategy so that this is embedded in your organisational priorities.
Understanding electricity markets and your energy purchasing processes
Energy procurement will most likely deliver the bulk of your organisation’s ambitious renewable energy goals, so without a plan, you may not be able to achieve an ambitious renewable energy goal ahead of the ‘greening’ of the grid.
The ability to meet an ambitious renewable energy goal cost-effectively is heavily influenced by how you source electricity from the market. Whereas in the past, GreenPower® was available, but at a cost premium, many organisations are now able to source energy from renewable energy projects at similar or even lower cost than conventional power.
In this rapidly evolving environment, you need to take time to understand how the electricity market and renewables procurement work and develop your energy sourcing strategy accordingly. In particular, investigate the following aspects of energy procurement:
- The current and future electricity and renewable energy market
- Contract terms for renewable energy supply
- Types of contracts for renewable energy purchasing
- Interest in collaboration or partnering for volume to achieve better pricing are all aspects of energy procurement
Transport and waste
Transport and waste can be sources of large carbon emissions. However, solutions to achieve step-change in energy demand, renewable energy or carbon emissions can be limited, particularly if your organisation is already focusing on emission reduction in these areas.
In our experience, the level of focus on carbon emissions and renewables for these sources is low or lags the focus that is applied to electricity and stationary gas. This often leads to the omission of these sources from targets.
An emerging aspect of this is the potential for electrification of vehicles to change electricity demand and thus increase the amount of renewable electricity that needs to be sourced to meet ambitious targets. Some organisations are beginning to assess their future energy demand with an EV fleet and incorporate this into their long-term forecasts.
Consider including transport and waste in future targets if they are not already part of your goal. Make sure that you apply appropriate resources to understand opportunities and future trends.
The emergence of electric vehicles will introduce new challenges for the identification of new opportunities. A good strategy is to forecast what changes will occur and when. This may not be a significant factor for the next 4-5 years but will almost certainly be a more important issue as we approach 2030.
While you are implementing efficiency and renewables, your energy demand may grow with organisational growth. Your emissions intensity may reduce, but your absolute emissions may still be growing.
The greater the level of organisational support and understanding of the nature, scale and timing of opportunities, as well as an understanding of the type and scale of changes that will occur to your assets over time helps to set targets that are realistic and achievable.
You need to take these changes into account so you know what combination of emission reduction options can help you meet your target in the most cost-effective way.
You may find you have only achieved a small part of your goal after a few years, despite the fact you have progressed several onsite solar and energy efficiency projects. Often, building energy efficiency and onsite solar can deliver part of the solution, but each project is individually small.
This is beginning to change with cheaper solar panels making larger-scale systems cost-effective, which in turn has a greater impact on emission reduction and onsite renewable energy generation.
The overall effort towards ambitious goals is likely to include a small number of measures that have individually significant impact (e.g., a renewable energy PPA), plus a large number of small measures that have low impact but are good for the bottom line.
Your strategy to meet ambitious targets should include both these measures.
100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their renewable energy strategies and timing actions appropriately. If you need help with developing a target and action plans that help you meet this target, please contact Barbara or Patrick.
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