Lighting the Way to Climate Resilience: Defining, Delivering, and Demonstrating Value

In this series, Lighting the Way to Climate Resilience, we aim to guide the utility industry to a more resilient future. Be sure to check out the first article for a data-driven dive into challenges and opportunities the energy sector is facing while trying to improve the resilience of critical infrastructure. 

The energy transition is accelerating–and utilities are developing strategies to harden their assets, support decarbonization targets, meet stakeholder expectations, and continue to deliver energy to their customers safely, reliably, and affordably. Aging assets, limited resources, and restricted budgets are compounding this challenging environment. Just as the physical infrastructure that supported 20th century energy demands must evolve, so must the decision-making tools and processes that underpin the energy transition. 

To succeed, organizations must be able to weigh investment options on a common scale that accounts for financial and resourcing constraints along with environmental and social impacts—and connect the dots for investors, regulators, employees, and customers between day-to-day decisions and long-term strategy. 

For over a decade, energy clients across the globe have relied on Copperleaf’s decision analytics solutions to meet this challenge. Our clients are able to make multi-dimensional decisions—and incorporate the three D’s into their capital planning processes. This article will highlight how Copperleaf® helps organizations:  

Define, Deliver, and Demonstrate Value by building and executing plans that drive strategy, proactively manage risk, improve performance, and make meaningful progress on climate-related objectives.

Defining Value

How do you know you’re making the right decisions to meet the climate challenge and deliver reliable products and servicessafely and profitably? 

The effects of climate change are felt around the world and meeting the targets laid out in the Paris Accord will be a shared responsibility across governments, regulators, investors, companies, and consumers. Utilities will play a crucial role in supporting the energy transition while still powering “life as usual” for customers around the globe.  

Ensuring capital plans align with long-term strategy begins with consistent, value-based decision making. But for many organizations, the concept of value—and evaluating how proposed investments will contribute to the achievement of strategic goals—is difficult to quantify. Today, hard costs of investments must be evaluated alongside factors like sustainability, resilience, and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) benefits, to truly compare and understand both the near- and long-term benefits of different projects.  

The Copperleaf Value Framework allows for exactly this kind of comparison. Because it takes into account both hard costs and soft (or typically less easily quantified) benefits, Copperleaf’s clients can compare dissimilar investment options—from those designed to strengthen system reliability, to those that increase wind or solar capacity or improve employee efficiency—on a common economic scale, and make decisions that are transparent, defensible, and aligned with long-term objectives. 

Delivering Value 

How do you know you’re making the right decisions at the right time to deliver on near- and long-term strategy?  

Delivering the highest value for the environment, the community, and the bottom line means not just selecting the right projects, but executing them at the right time. With competing priorities and restricted budgets, organizations must make hard choices about where and when to spend. And while planning timelines for a handful of projects may be a manageable task, manually optimizing hundreds or thousands is exponentially more difficult. Factoring in the need to react to changing climate conditions and extreme weather events, along with rapidly evolving customer needs and stakeholder expectations, means that even the best plans must be able to adapt quickly and seamlessly.  

Copperleaf’s solutions leverage advanced analytics to evaluate hundreds of thousands of possible investments and identify the optimal plan within minutes. Our clients can create any number of what-if scenarios to compare the impact of different funding, timing, and resource constraints on risk and value to quickly determine the best overall investment plan—and re-optimize that plan when targets and constraints change. 

Demonstrating Value 

How do your stakeholders know your organization is delivering value and meeting performance targets?  

Long gone are the days when regulators were the primary stakeholder for energy providers. Today, the world demands progress on environmental and social objectives, and transparency from organizations across every sector. Investors, media, and consumers are watching—and rewarding utilities that provide services safely, reliably, and cost effectively, while delivering on environmental goals and contributing to local communities. To thrive under this intense scrutiny, energy organizations must be able to publicly communicate and defend their decisions, while demonstrating tangible progress towards long-term commitments.  

On the flipside, communicating corporate values—and demonstrating to employees how actions align to those values—has never been more important, especially when the collective effect of those decisions may take decades to measure. Understanding the “why” and the impact of day-to-day activities is critical to attracting, retaining, and inspiring the next-gen workforce that will see climate objectives through to fruition.  

Copperleaf enables organizations to draw a clear, deliberate connection between strategy and execution, making transparent to all stakeholders the reasoning behind capital investments, and the impact those decisions have on the environment, our communities, and the bottom line. Copperleaf provides transparency through each step of the decision-making process, equipping clients with the information they need to confidently communicate, explain, and defend their decisions to stakeholders and the workforce of today and tomorrow.  

In the last article in this series, we’ll showcase how Copperleaf clients use our solutions to make value-based decisions that support their climate resilience objectives.  

In the meantime, check out this playbook, Utility Capital Investment Planning: Reach Beyond Reliability to Climate Resilience, to learn how asset investment planning software can support highly effective capital planning to achieve utility climate resilience. 

 

 

About the Author

Dawen Nozdryn-Plotnicki

Dawen is Copperleaf's Managing Director, Americas. She has expertise in building high-performing teams and creating products that put the power of data science into the hands of non-data geeks. Together with her management consulting and computer science background, her focus has always been on bridging technology with business needs to deliver tangible results to clients.

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