Sustainable Solutions for Energy Providers
The five trends in the energy sector, namely digitalization, decarbonization, decentralization, demographic change and diversification of conventional business models, are transforming this sector in German-speaking countries and necessitating strategic repositioning and adjustments to established business models. On an international level, the increased involvement of private investors and integration of renewable energy plants are also changing the market design and the perception of market players’ roles.
In the course of our consulting projects, we help many companies in the energy sector to exploit their potential, from tailoring development of their corporate strategy through to assisting them in implementing their strategy. We work in partnership with our clients to achieve these goals, and our clients are always the focus of our efforts. Ours is not a “one size fits all” approach, rather we seek out the best bespoke solution in each individual case.
Our main focal areas in the field of energy sector consulting are as follows:
- Sale of Energy and Services
The sale of power and gas is coming under increasing pressure from changes to customer requirements, intense competition (including the emergence of new players) and progressive digitalization.
Based on our extensive experience in sales strategies and detailed know-how in procurement and sales processes, we assist you in further optimizing your processes, digitalizing customer access, ensuring reasonable risk management in energy procurement, and raising your customers’ loyalty. In this respect, selling new services is only one possibility of many. One answer to the growing complexity could be to form new partnerships.
With our knowledge of sales service providers, we can help you to identify exactly the right partners for you and are happy to provide support through to contract negotiation. We also offer these services in both the German and the Swiss market.
- Future-Proof Generation Portfolio
The constantly changing economic and regulatory conditions as well as increased integration of renewable energies into the energy mix greatly affect the profitability of individual power generation facilities and portfolios. Diversifying the power generation portfolio helps to alleviate offtake and price risks.
Together with our clients, we develop investment and asset strategies in keeping with the corporate strategy and assess these according to risk factors as well as their input towards sustainably securing contribution margins.
- Operationalization of Strategic Projects
Increased complexity in the energy sector creates the need for a broad range of expertise and ties up valuable capacities in managing and implementing strategic projects. We know our way around the energy sector and the market processes, are up to date on regulatory requirements and changes, are used to working in interdisciplinary teams, and have extensive experience in managing complex projects including those employing an agile approach.
With this broad project management and communications expertise, we assist you in implementing your projects within time and budget frameworks and coordinate the various components of a solution between different disciplines and departments (IT, business, financial controlling, etc.).
- Decarbonization of Heating
The “heat transition”, i.e. the energy transition with respect to heat supply, is still in its infancy, no doubt down in part to the individual grid structures, grid topologies and generation options, which often require solutions specific to individual urban quarters.
Decarbonization guidelines set out by the sector targets in the German government’s Climate Action Plan will lead to significant changes. The timely development of “green” heating strategies will ensure that your company remains competitive. We assist you in developing local “green” heating strategies and in implementing these – from designing district heating, group heating and urban quarter solutions, to exploiting flexibilities with storage and energy integration technologies, through to carrying out technical implementation.
Together with you, we develop suitable heat pricing models for your supply solutions to ensure that contribution margins continue to be generated.
- Scenario Analysis of Gas Demand
Natural gas now covers around 24% of ultimate energy demand, with this figure rising to 45% in the heating sector. This success story is being jeopardized by climate protection policy. It is foreseeable that adjustments to business models and corresponding transformation paths will need to be developed for existing gas infrastructure – from transmission and storage through to final distribution.
To acquire the best possible understanding of how your future contribution margins will develop, we examine the gas demands and gas revenues for individual consumer types in jointly defined scenarios. We use the result as the basis for checking your target network planning and maintenance strategy. Together with you, we develop strategic measures to limit revenue risks in relation to gas grid operation and come up with ideas for new business segments. Alternative grid concepts may be a component of such solutions.
References for typical projects
- Virtual power plant – tie-in of PV plants with energy storage
Virtual power plant – tie-in of PV plants with energy storageAs from 2016, the power from solar PV plants rated at 100 kWp and above has to be directly marketed. A chain store owner is considering expanding its PV solar capacity and tying in battery storage to raise power consumption coming from own production. It is being assisted in this by our customer, an energy supply utility. On the basis of its experience with pilot clients, Fichtner develops and evaluates a business model for direct marketing of PV power from plants of 100 kWp and up with integrated battery storage. For this purpose, Fichtner analyzes the structure for feeding residual power to the grid, determines the potential rev-enues from direct marketing, and checks options for utilizing battery storage. The client’s advantages from raising its own consumption are assessed against po-tential revenues in the frequency regulation market. The requirements and costs for technical plant tie-in into primary control power are reviewed. Fichtner creates a remuneration model for direct marketing of PV power with own consumption, with an assessment of the economic performance of battery storage.
- Potential in the German grid edge market
Potential in the German grid edge marketThe client, a global technology company with a strong focus on digital solutions, has contracted Fichtner to conduct a study of the German grid edge market. Grid edge solutions cover a wide variety of technologies, processes and business models for integrating distributed (renewable) energies into the grid. The focus of this study lies in identifying solutions (technologies and business models) and players (from start-ups to estab-lished companies) on the grid edge market and in analyzing current trends of the market. Unifying character of the solutions is the use of digi-tal technologies implementing methods, tools, and concepts of industry 4.0 into the energy market. The work steps include conducting broad re-search into the solutions and players, clustering dominant groups within the identified solutions and players, deducing specific trends and as-sessing them with regard to their future market potential.
- Intensified private customer sales
Intensified private customer salesThe client is a cantonal power utility in Switzerland. For historical reasons, it also has customers in Germany who receive power physically from the Swiss power grid.
With this project, the client sought to assess the strategic options available to it for cultivating this business segment of private customers in Germany as well as the economic effects (earnings performance from selling electricity, cost savings from using service providers, etc.) that would ensue as a result of implementing such strategic options.
The strategic options are therefore defined to the extent necessary for them to be condensed into business cases and quantified. To this end, discussions are held with service providers (for sales services, market communication, invoicing, procurement, etc.) in order to obtain as realistic a picture as possible of the sales and earnings figures.
The second stage of the project involves identifying cooperation partners who might be suitable for jointly cultivating this business segment, and assistance is provided during the initial discussions and further negotiations with these (poten-tial) partners.
Finally, our cooperation in this project includes providing assistance in develop-ing and preparing decision papers for the executive board and the board of directors.
- Marketability of Battery storage
Marketability of Battery storageThe aim is to analyze the economic viability of using battery storage systems. The focus is on markets with renewable power generation capacity or potential, but no purchase commitments for the generated renewable power. The considered electricity markets are Western Europe, North America, Australia, and Japan. To evaluate the economic benefits of battery assisted displacement of grid feed-in, the structure and absolute level of current and projected price spreads are compared with typical daily periods of solar power generation. The revenues and full utilization hours attainable by storing wind power that exceeds the grid capacity are also estimated.
- Analysis of a grid company
Analysis of a grid companyThe client, a distribution system operator in a German conurbation, has contracted Fichtner to conduct a business analysis of its company in order to optimize internal processes and management tools and to ensure that the company is well structured for cost reviews. In doing so, Fichtner examines how the company’s account code structure for its regulated electricity and gas divisions is attuned to the Federal German Network Agency’s current pricing procedures and reviews the evidence provided in the annual statement required to comply with the unbundling laws. Fichtner also provides advice on how to improve financial controlling of the grid fee accounting processes, how to process cross-divisional services in conformity with regulatory provisions, how to perform appropriate product costing for services rendered and how to provide information required for management processes by means of internal reporting.
- Forecast of municipal district heating sales
Forecast of municipal district heating salesThe client, a municipal utility operates medium-sized heat supply networks on the basis of gas or district heating. In part, these compete with each other.
Fichtner has been contracted to forecast district heating sales over the medium and long terms. For this purpose, Fichtner analyzes the current situation by classifying existing customers into various segments. Considered are the categories of private households, building administrations, business and commercial customers, outsourcing, and own consumption. To supplement this, a forecast is made of the decrease in sales due to energy efficiency measures at buildings and displacement by decentralized regenerative generation. Providing the basis for this is the historical decline in types of urban development and energy-economic assumptions. Further, forecasts to a resolution of individual urban districts are made of growth due to development of new and densification of existing urban structures as well as substitution of gas and oil by district heating. The basis for this is the municipality’s urban planning and assumptions for changes in the market. Chances and risks are factored into the considerations through scenario analyses. The upper and lower bounds of potential sales so determined provide the basis for planning the new power plant concept."
Your Contact Person for Energy Economics
- Sabine Siebald
- Executive Manager