Self-Operations

Self-Operations

It can be very difficult to accurately predict performance for a renewable energy site.  Renewable plant owners tend to rely on third-party fixed price service agreements and ownership of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to help, though these options may contain some risks for the site. 

These services tend to be more expensive than self-performing work, often show poorer safety statistics and typically yield lower actual availability due to contractual exclusion for performance metrics.  Furthermore, project performance may become stifled by a lack of transparency in reporting performance and maintenance work.  In some cases, OEM and third-party fixed price services prioritize the service provider contract structure over the project’s performance and profitability objectives.  

NuConsult Services offers project owners an opportunity with self-operations for better control over predictable project performance including…

  • Budgetary Control – easily implement zero-based budgeting that ensures adherence to owner project strategy and performance expectations year over year
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis – perform in alignment with long-term project performance goals
  • Adequate Staffing for Maintenance and Potential CAP-EX improvements – staffing budgeting and planning in line with project strategy and not competing against a service provider’s profitability
  • Spare-Parts Strategy Planning and Implementation – review as part of the annual project planning to ensure alignment with a project’s strategy

For accurate measurements on performance and to mitigate some of these potential issues, we offer a business plan to help organize tasks and prepare owners for the challenges faced with renewable site ownership.  Below outlines our ninety-day business plan that we recommend to our clients for self-operations.  It briefly describes what each step of the process includes and its benefits for the site.  

90-Day Business Plan

Organizational Plan

Peroformance Engineering

Operating Budget

Spare Parts and Procurement Strategy

Remote Operations Center (ROC)

Standard Internal O&M Form

Develop O&M Programs

NERC Program

Organizational Plan

A complete staffing plan, position descriptions, hiring strategy, and organizational design

Performance Engineering

Implements a performance engineering and analysis program

Operating Budget

A 20-year model that covers operational budget including staffing, PM/CM, and a spares and capital program

Spare Parts and Procurement Strategy

A comprehensive spare parts strategy

Remote Operations Center (ROC)

A capital budget and plan to stand ROC up to support solar sites

Standard Internal O&M Form

A standard O&M form and contract risk matrix for internal O&M contract

Develop O&M Programs

A program to utilize previously developed operations, safety, and environmental programs

NERC Program

Implements support for the NERC (North American Electric Reliability Corporation) program

Self-Operations Considerations

The benefits for self-operating a renewable project are numerous, but it is worth considering whether it is a good fit.  Should renewable energy owners operate their own plants? Would it improve efficiency on the site?  Renewable plant owners face these questions all the time.  

To know whether or not self-operations would be beneficial, some considerations to keep in mind are.. 

How big is the fleet?

Size matters when it comes to efficiency

Are the plants close together and similar?

Efficiency is gained by having similar technologies in a close geographical area

Does the company have vendor agreements?

Access to spare parts and technical support is critical to success

Does the company have the management support for this strategy?

To operate the site effectively, an organization should be built up before it is taken over - this takes resources both human and financial

Team building solar panels on a backdrop of electric lines

Control Over Your Business Metric

Self-operations provides renewable project owners greater control over the critical business metric of predictable project performance. This approach empowers owners to directly manage various aspects of their projects, ensuring they are completed on time, within budget, and adhere to the highest quality standards.

By maintaining more direct oversight, owners can swiftly address issues that arise.  This means better monitoring over the budget with detailed financial reporting and by extension creates a more efficient site with enhanced resource allocation, financial transparency, and accountability.

NuConsult Services has helped many renewable project owners achieve predictable and successful project performance with our team of renewable project engineers and expert consultants.  Let us see what we can achieve together with your business.  

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