Juan Pablo Cerda, CEO of Zeigo – a relatively new company that connects clean energy buyers and sellers, and supports successful transactions – reflects on the pricing trends he is currently seeing in the sustainable energy sector.
“We are definitely seeing more flexibility from energy developers who are more willing to negotiate and adapt to the needs of the buyer. We are also witnessing a huge increase in demand, which is pushing prices down. This demand is driven by various aspects – more corporates are signing up to RE100, for instance, and there is growing pressure from consumers to become more sustainable and prove sustainability. Further pressure is coming from Governments, competitors and other sources, all of which contribute to the accelerated transition to renewable energy for many businesses globally.
“In terms of contract structures, there is greater interest in aggregation. Many companies don’t have the volume, resources or credit rating to sign a PPA on their own and aggregation provides a solution. By grouping together, several companies can successfully offtake energy from a particular project.
“The virtual PPA is also growing in popularity in the UK and across Europe. US energy suppliers with operations in Europe find it difficult to sign PPAs on each country, especially if they don’t have sufficient volume in each location. The possibility of a Pan-Europe PPA is, therefore, very useful. Virtual PPAs are already common in the US and there is certainly potential to adapt the model for Europe and the UK once challenges like the financial approach to derivative trading have been overcome. There would be greater opportunity for both energy buyers and sellers.”
Technology is very much a driving force of growth in the renewable energy sector. Juan summaries the key areas in which cutting-edge equipment is crucial:
“First, it increases reach, making it simpler for developers to upload projects onto platforms like Ziego. They can also tag projects to tenders, reducing the time it takes to run a tender from 6 months to 2 weeks and providing great visibility of the wider market in less time.
“Second, technology enables standardisation, opening the market for less sophisticated buyers than the global giants that have traditionally dominated the market. A standardised approach makes the process simpler for smaller companies without their own internal resources, which is why we always focus on contractual details first to better match compatible energy buyers and sellers for more successful transactions.
“Technology is also integral to predicting market and pricing trends – something that is almost impossible to do without cutting-edge machine-learning algorithms. This provides transparency and gives energy buyers more confidence in the prices they are offered. Similarly, the tech we use today facilitates aggregation of corporates and creates dynamic pricing systems that are fair for all.”
With this type of technology still in its infancy, the challenge is to acquire more data for more accurate forecasting and even greater transparency. For companies like Zeigo, who are seeing a spike in demand, this is an area of huge opportunity and development.
“Solar and wind are always going to be the most cost-efficient technologies in the renewable energy sector, because they are so far ahead of others. Complementary technology like hydrogen and battery storage will support wider reach and further development in the future.
“Connection and communication between energy buyers and sellers is also very important to support acceleration of market growth. At Zeigo, we introduce parties after providing comprehensive information on financial analyses, the tender process and contractual details, so they are on the same page when they eventually meet for a simple and very successful contract signing process. In simplifying the process, we can enable more transactions and, therefore, help more companies do their part in the race to net zero.”
Juan will be among the speakers presenting in the first Clean Energy Exchange webinar co-organised by RenewableUK and Solar Energy UK, on Tuesday 23 February at 10:00 GMT. For more details on Ziego, please visit https://zeigo.com/.