Energy News Network: Can this online startup change how companies buy renewable power?
April 01, 2019
In a feature story about LevelTen Energy, Energy News Network described how we’re changing the way renewable energy is bought and sold. Below is an excerpt from the article.
With $7.3 million in venture capital support and a staff of software, analytical, renewable energy, and big data savants, LevelTen last year established the first national marketplace for buying and selling wind and solar energy. The company also assembled a suite of digital analytic tools that enable renewable developers and buyers to find each other, and more quickly close power purchase agreements for new projects…
…“LevelTen is changing how renewable energy is bought and sold,” said Eric Gimon, a senior fellow at Energy Innovation, a nonprofit renewable energy research and policy group in San Francisco. “It’s like shopping. If you’re wealthy you have a personal shopper who knows all your requirements and your favorite stores and buys what you like. But if you’re like the rest of us, you need a market — a mall with all the stores. You go out and see what you like and try it on. That’s what LevelTen is doing. They’ve made the market available and transparent for all buyers. It’s a pretty big deal.”
Just how big is starting to come into focus on LevelTen’s Marketplace, introduced this year, where 200 renewable energy developers have already listed more than 1,600 projects coast to coast. Collectively, that represents 100,000 megawatts of potential generating capacity, or equal to 63 percent of the total existing wind and solar generating capacity in the United States.
“I started LevelTen to build a marketplace to put buyers and sellers together more effectively,” founder Bryce Smith said. “There really hadn’t been a technology solution to bringing software and all the efficiency that entails into the renewable energy space. The idea was to put technology to use in the market so that buyers could purchase slices of new projects. It can be less risky for a corporation to buy a slice of many projects, creating a portfolio, rather than put all of its money into a single project. But before this marketplace, buyers didn’t have the data and analytics to find the optimal mix of projects that offer the highest value and lowest risk. Our objective was to create a market space with really rigorous analytics to make it easier to buy renewables.”
To participate, LevelTen requires developers to provide a mass of relevant details about location, project size, types of technology used, operations data, settlement location, power purchase agreement price and contract terms. In its simplest use LevelTen’s market does for wind and solar construction nationally what Zillow essentially does for residential home markets. It connects buyers with sellers, providing purchasers with menus, filters, products, prices, advice, avails, comparisons and capital.
The myriad details, though, also are collected in a massive data repository that LevelTen’s algorithms churn into relevant and actionable analysis of market conditions — local, regional and national. The 8 million data points LevelTen collects and updates twice a day provide any number of assessments, two of which are unique and especially valuable to the industry.
The first is an accurate projection of the value of a proposed project over its life. Buyers and sellers know what a project will likely earn before it’s built. Data helps buyers manage financial risks.
The second is a quarterly report introduced last year that has quickly become the benchmark for documenting the cost of power purchase agreements across the country by region. It takes the guesswork out of pricing and gives buyers and developers sound parameters for negotiating wholesale electricity contracts.
LevelTen’s inventions are bringing to an end the cumbersome and expensive project-by-project, person-to-person deal-making that has characterized renewable development over the last two decades. The LevelTen tools also help buyers and sellers manage risk by providing market intelligence and actionable data for making decisions.
The data is comprehensive. It’s like giving new home buyers a deep dive on every home for sale in a city, including details about room sizes, lifespans and operating costs of differing brands of home furnaces, or the equalized value of installing glazed windows versus clear ones. The database aggregates those details, matches them against the buyer’s preferences, and produces a list of homes that best fit.
To read the full article, visit EnergyNews.Us.