Steven Clarke
Newcomb Anderson McCormick

Wrapped Services for Optimal Integrated Outcomes

Fri, 02/01/2019 - 16:53

The US renewables industry is quickly maturing and facing political challenges, limiting the number of available opportunities. The logical next step for US developers is to step across the border to the infant Mexican market, says Steven Clarke, Director of Newcomb Anderson McCormick (NAM). “The market landscape for energy projects in the US, especially in California, is capped as most of the low-hanging fruit has already been picked, which makes payback times for future projects more difficult to handle financially and harder to sell,” he says. “Mexico is still a couple of years from that point and therefore it offers a variety of projects that can still be considered attractive.”
Entering into a new market is not easy for any company, especially for smaller businesses that require B2B connections to strengthen their presence. As energy engineering and management consulting firm, NAM prepares to make its own move south. Clarke says the company is deploying all the tools at its disposal to enter Mexico properly. “We are using every connection we have to get involved in projects to understand the clients’ needs better than anyone else and to begin creating long-term relationships,” he says. “Our immediate goal is to fully understand the Mexican market and evaluate how we can offer the highest added value to potential clients.” By the end of 2019, Clarke expects to have a concrete expansion strategy in place and to close five key partnerships that will allow the company to enter the market with strength.
As part of this planning process, NAM has begun carrying out its due diligence and has learned Mexican bureaucracy can be a difficult area to negotiate, especially given the fragmented levels of government. “From the business intelligence that we have gathered, we know that since the federal government is deeply involved in the development of projects, it needs to build good communication channels with other levels of government,” Clarke says. “Considering that we have worked with many public and private institutions in the US, we are used to successfully managing the interests of several diverse stakeholders, as well as looking for ways to fund projects.” He adds that NAM’s experience of structuring, scoping, derisking and managing projects from scratch in the US will be vital for the development of optimal projects in Mexico. This breadth of knowledge gives NAM the ability to offer the turnkey services that are increasingly demanded by the market, Clarke says. “We manage the entirety of the project. Although we might not be experts in each and every area the project covers, we are experts at integrating and managing complex projects that require a great number of specialized teams.”

Clients not only demand integrated projects in terms of the service provision but also in terms of the technologies involved. “A few years ago, there was great demand for renewable projects that targeted the development of only one technology. Now we are increasingly seeing an increased demand for projects that include different technologies, such as biomass, biogas, batteries and fuel cells,” Clarke says. “The goal of these innovative technologies is to reduce energy consumption intensity and GHGs.”

Managing such complexity is not easy since processes have to be established for technologies that constantly change in terms of efficiencies and prices, as well as for technologies that rapidly surge and become commercially viable. Clarke says NAM has managed these complex scenarios before with successful results. “We have worked in projects that implemented energy efficiency, renewable energy technologies, EV integration and other sustainable projects for all kinds of clients, from auto manufacturers to food-packaging companies and public agencies” he says.
In the face of so many options, Clarke says that NAM remains technology agnostic, meaning that it does not favor any specific application or product, instead looking for the best option to address the client’s needs. He uses a micro-grid project being developed by NAM as an example. “This micro-grid aims to help the community meet its energy related needs in the areas of reliability, resiliency, environmental impacts and economic impacts. Depending upon how the priorities are set, NAM can balance how the project addresses energy consumption, energy generation from the grid or renewables, vehicle charging and energy backup and storage solutions,” he says.