The prospect of becoming a sustainable business and achieving net-zero emissions is a daunting one for many businesses and governments. But it doesn’t have to be.
We recently discussed this topic with Barbara Albert, the Co-CEO of 100% Renewables, speaker, and author of the book Energy Unlimited. 100% Renewables works with large energy users who strive to be leaders in responding to climate change. She specialises in helping organisations drive towards net profit with zero emissions. Seeing a future where all organisations will be powered by clean energy. She works with clients on climate change strategies with cost-effective short, medium and long term actions plans.
Over 10 years ago, Barbara realised an urgency to act on climate change. She started a climate change consultancy, after studying Carbon Management. In 2017, she launched her book ‘Energy Unlimited’, sharing her methodology for businesses to achieve 100% renewable and unlimited energy. Her book has been recognised in the top 54 sustainability energy books on Book Authority. In 2019, Barbara also received an Energy Leaders Award.
Profitable change for climate
Barbara works with businesses and governments to not only achieve carbon targets but achieve them in a cost-neutral, if not cost-positive way, through:
- Being more energy efficient
- Installing solar and energy storage
- Buying renewables
- Procuring sustainably
- Sustainable transport
- Managing carbon
100% Renewables helps businesses in developing a clean energy plan that can be broken down into three categories:
1. Reduce Energy Demand
“The most cost-effective renewable energy is the energy that you don’t use.”
This includes holistically assessing energy demand and identifying opportunities to create:
- Energy efficiency
- Identify and manage technology upgrades to more energy efficiency solutions,
- Plan for sustainable growth.
Identifying these opportunities enables businesses to project what future energy consumption is likely to be, and therefore the amount of renewable energy they will need to develop and invest in to meet 100% renewable energy goals.
Energy efficiency – this can be achieved through energy monitoring, reducing unnecessary energy usage, and making changes such as switching to LED lighting, and appliances with greater energy efficiency ratings.
Technology upgrades – focusing on replacing medium to long term capital intensive equipment including assessing the time frames on upgrades and replacements, evaluating available and emerging options, and running a cost-benefit analysis.
Sustainable Growth – expansion strategies providing opportunities to lock in the lowest lifetime costs for energy, efficient design, and technology selection.
2. Produce Renewable Energy
As technology has progressed, and information and financial incentives increased, so has the cost-effectiveness of renewable energy. There are two options for producing renewable energy:
- Behind-the-Meter: installing a PV Solar system, solar hot water or biomass energy generation, avoiding energy distribution costs and retail charges, or
- Front-of-meter: using roof or land space for the development of customer-scale renewable energy.
The potential to increase renewable energy generation is enhanced with battery storage.
3. Purchase Renewables and Offsets
Once businesses have reduced energy demand and produced renewable energy, the next step is to purchase green energy or offsets. The GreenPower initiative allows businesses to commit their electricity providers to purchase the equivalent amount of electricity from accredited renewable energy generators. Other options are to purchase offsets through Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs/LGCs), or for larger energy consumers, corporate Power Purchase Agreements.
If you’re looking to move to 100% renewables or tasked with putting a business case together, Barbara’s book Energy Unlimited provides further insights into achieving sustainability and financial goals.
Today Barbara’s sustainability consultancy has grown, and she is now starting a Podcast ‘Driving Net Profit with Zero Emissions’. On the podcast, she shares her knowledge and interviews leaders on their net-zero stories. Together with business partner Patrick Denvir, she’s also started working on her second book with the same title as the podcast. “100% Renewables” has helped many businesses and governments to become sustainability leaders, with a mission to drive profit with zero emissions.
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