In an era marked by rapid technological progress and unprecedented expansion, the appetite for energy shows no signs of abating. Projections from industry experts suggest U.S. power demand could triple by the year 2045. As of 2023, the current capacity for wind, solar and battery power totals 16.3GW, while the interconnection queue discloses an astonishing 1,291 GW of planned renewable projects in the near future.
As the demand for U.S. energy intensifies, opportunities for suppliers and business developers to build partnerships with power developers are becoming more abundant.
This e-book serves as a guide for business developers navigating the U.S. energy supply chain to find and establish partnerships with companies constructing power projects. The e-book not only walks the reader through locating business development opportunities but also forecasting the likelihood a project will materialize and outlining who are the key project stakeholders and decision-makers to reach out to.
The burgeoning U.S. energy market provides service companies and suppliers abundant business development opportunities, including:
Material and equipment suppliers are in high demand, as project developers need to source a wide range of components for both traditional and renewable projects. This includes everything from transmission cables, substations and site construction (e.g., security fences) to solar panels, wind turbines, inverters and mounting systems.
Project developers often need help with the engineering and design of their projects. This can include everything from site selection and permitting to layout and construction.
Once an energy project is operational, it needs to be properly maintained. Suppliers and vendors who offer maintenance or retrofitting services can help project developers keep their assets running efficiently (e.g., mature wind assets that are repowering to take advantage of the latest, most efficient turbine technology).
Regardless of where they fit in the energy supply chain, companies can adapt the following business development workflows to address their needs and provide the answers to guide them in allocating their time and resources effectively:
Early-phase power projects can be found in the interconnection queue. The interconnection queue is a list of requests or projects from different regions or utilities seeking to interconnect their power grids. The interconnection queue would typically be managed by a regulatory authority or an organization responsible for overseeing the interconnection of electrical systems. Analyzing the interconnection queue can quickly high-grade projects of interest by selecting and filtering datasets to projects in the U.S. that are in pre-construction development and have completed feasibility, system impact and facility studies. Screening can also be extended to non-generating assets such as transmission and substation projects.
Once an area of interest is identified, business developers can narrow the pool of early-phase energy projects down to the strongest leads by identifying who the top developers are in the area. Understanding who the top developers are, where their projects are located, what type of power project they are developing, the technology they use, average project size and which suppliers they have worked with in the past will help business developers have a cleaner picture of which developers and projects they have the best opportunity to partner with and help prioritize their pursuit.
To improve lead quality further and avoid direct competition, business development teams can dig into the project details to uncover if the project already has suppliers associated with. If not, the developer may be a prime candidate to connect with to see if a partnership makes sense for both parties.
Another consideration for business developers in early-phase energy project due diligence is supplier analytics. This analysis will help gauge how strong the opportunity is by revealing the types of suppliers the company has worked with in the past and is currently working with. See the top suppliers by state and understand supplier relationships with the energy project developer and whether it is steady, increasing or declining. Through this process, the business developer can quickly determine whether there is room to partner with a project developer, enabling them to prioritize prospects and focus on the most promising opportunities.
The preceding workflow provides the confidence to begin business development with the prospects found. Next is to get the contact information of the stakeholders and decision makers for the projects. Some of the common ways to find these key contacts would be through public filings, such as permits, where key individuals of the projects are listed. Some commercially available software will provide the key contacts based on the permits but also provide key company contacts, such as executive leaders, portfolio managers and procurement managers.
Companies put out RFPs to solicit proposals from business development teams that can be found in various sources that in the public domain including utility RFP webpages, news feeds, government and websites. However, with 50+ RFPs for major projects coming out every week across the U.S., a business developer will end up spending a significant amount of time to maintain the data instead of pursuing business opportunities. Tools are readily available in the market to help aggregate RFPs in one place and keep them maintained so that business developers can spend more time focused on reviewing the RFPs and identifying the most promising ones instead of time-consuming data collection work.
Depending on the scope of the search, a business developer may encounter hundreds or even thousands of contacts they want to reach out to. These contacts will need to be put into the business’ outreach campaign, which could take various forms, including a simple e-mail or call list, or a more intricate marketing outreach program. The process of extracting individual contact information for outreach can quickly become tedious. The ability to export contact information, whether via APIs or other data export methods can significantly alleviate the manual effort required to kickstart the outreach process and help the business developer focus on establishing the connections with the businesses they want to work with.
Armed with these new tools and the flexible workflows outlined above, business development teams can spend less time mining and organizing data and more time gaining unprecedented clarity into the rapidly evolving U.S. energy industry and be able to prioritize the companies they will most want to partner with.
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