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Clean energy asset management: the challenges and solutions

7th July 2021

Clean energy asset management teams face significant challenges. With its proprietary asset management software, Sennen presents a viable solution.

In this article, Gaby Amiel, Sennen CEO and co-founder, considers the pressures of managing a vast and varied portfolio of clean energy assets and the best route to operational – and financial – success.

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Asset management teams in the clean energy sector are under enormous competing pressures. 

First, there are the demands of managing dozens of assets spread across a continent – assets that are not uniform, with a mix of energy types, size and age. This assortment of assets has likely been on-boarded to a portfolio chunk by chunk, perhaps from acquisitions handled by previous incumbents in role. Many assets come with their own quirks and ways of working.  

A mix of technologies is good for portfolio diversification but can present an operational challenge across a rapidly scaling the portfolio. Moreover, if asset managers have non-energy asset types other areas such as property, social infrastructure and transport, they find themselves with another level of complexity to contend with. Without operational change, this problem is here to stay. 

The other pressure comes from the board, who rightly want to see their assets in rude health and are looking for the revenue to drive future portfolio growth. Expectations around reporting and insight are higher than ever, thanks to the speed of technology in the digital age. Throw in a global pandemic and teams working almost entirely remotely and the need to be efficient in driving profit has never been more paramount. 

In order to do this, it’s vital to identify the challenges and explore the options for effective operational change. 

The challenge of too much information 

Information is what’s at the root of the challenge for asset managers: the sheer scale of organising the quantity and variety of data that’s required to preserve asset value while satisfying investors and management. How can the data be swiftly and efficiently captured, stored and searched to find the pertinent information – and how to do so consistently with the same results every time there’s a new request? 

The next step on from finding the answers is looking at data visualisation and reporting. Here clean energy asset managers find themselves at another roadblock: either with a set of standardised reports that don’t articulate the nuances of the portfolio or spend hours creating and recreating bespoke output. 

All the while this is sucking up valuable time that your team should be spending on high-value asset enhancement initiatives that your investors demand. 

The right tools for the job 

Ask yourself how robust it is to continue building sheet upon sheet in a programme like SharePoint. How much upkeep will that approach require when the portfolio is twice or four times the size it is now? How would it cope with a whole new load of assets acquired in another six months? 

It’s clear that the key to success is to be able to quickly see data, interpret the metrics that matter and use the insight to power decisions. Why place this important task in the hands of generic tools and databases that were never designed with the task in mind?  

With a large and complex portfolio, a director of clean energy asset management can find themselves in a continuous battle of deciding what to prioritise and which fires to fight. At Sennen, one of the most common themes we hear about when speaking with industry professionals is that just keeping everything going takes up a substantial amount of time each week. 

 
“The challenge we have is that sites were set up in the cheapest way and not in the most robust way.”

Anonymous Asset Manager 

Another common pain point is the ability to pull together qualitative information about incidents to use in discussions with contractors. Finding that needle in an Excel haystack is almost impossible in time for a meeting. Imagine being on the front foot in that contractor discussion and effecting real behavioural change. And what about investors? Wouldn’t it be beneficial to show exposure around incidents and asset deficiencies to demonstrate the underlying issues and how they are handled? 

Here at Sennen, we think there is a better way of working. We want the professionals to have tools to get the job done.  

The solution for success   

The answer could be in building your own proprietary software to manage your assets, to deliver what you need on time and within budget. But, software development is an expensive and long-term commitment.  

In creating Sennen, we invested our industry knowledge and expertise in technical depth into developing a highly functional tool for clean technology asset management in both offshore and infrastructure environments. A tool that’s tailored to each client, integrated seamlessly and designed to answer the challenge of information overload – keeping all your data in one intuitive and flexible platform. We’ve considered – and delivered – on the factors of speed, risk and cost return analysis. We’ve established the business case. We know that in this sector this is mission critical. 

With continuing pressure on the team, demands to scale, need to be efficient and the technical complexity involved in asset management, going down the proprietary platform route with an expert provider like Sennen really should be an option to take seriously. 

To learn more about how Sennen can help you effectively manage your clean energy assets, contact us today.