Rolls, investment firm to offer ‘Energy-as-a-Service’

By Jack Burke11 November 2021

Projects could range from CHP units to complex microgrids

Rolls-Royce and global investment firm Sustainable Development Capital will jointly offer ‘Energy-as-a-Service’ solutions as a subscription service, removing the need for customers to secure up-front infrastructure costs.

The companies also said the offering can help accelerate the take-up of more sustainable power. The agreement was signed at the World Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.

“Energy-as-a-Service is particularly interesting for companies that need to adapt their energy supply to new circumstances – be it an expansion for which more power is needed or an adaptation to new regulatory requirements, such as emissions guidelines,” said Andreas Görtz, vice president Power Generation at Rolls-Royce Power Systems. “Because this often involves investing in equipment, such as a microgrid, that requires expertise to operate, it’s a challenge for customers to do this on their own. By offering Energy-as-a-Service, we can help them overcome that challenge.”

The portfolio of energy systems that can be made available through ‘Energy-as-a-Service’ to provide electricity and/or heat, ranges from smaller plants using combined heat and power (CHP) units to battery containers and complex microgrid solutions.

The portfolio of energy systems that can be made available through ‘Energy-as-a-Service’ to provide electricity and/or heat, ranges from smaller plants using combined heat and power (CHP) units to battery containers and complex microgrid solutions. The existing mtu product range will be expanded in the coming years to include new technologies such as hydrogen-powered engines, fuel cell systems and combustion engines that can be operated with sustainable fuels such as e-diesel and hydrotreated vegetable oils (HVO).

The provision of ‘Energy-as-a-Service’ where a customer pays for heat and power through a subscription model, represents a very attractive way to improve access to sustainable power, the companies said. Rolls-Royce will work with Sustainable Development Capital and other partners to design, finance, build, commission and operate new projects. Sustainable Development Capital has more than a decade of experience of developing and financing clean and decentralized energy infrastructure projects in the UK, continental Europe, North America and Asia. Rolls-Royce, through its Power Systems business unit, has a portfolio of microgrid systems that bring together renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power with mtu-branded battery storage and gensets (an engine and electrical generator) to ensure reliable power generation. It is currently developing fuel cell systems and making its existing mtu engines compatible with sustainable fuels, paving the way for net zero microgrid solutions within the next two years.

Examples of ‘Energy-as-a-Service’ projects can range from providing sustainable and reliable power for communities in remote areas that are not connected to a public power grid; to industrial parks that want to be supplied with green power as well as emergency back-up and mines that want to replace old, inefficient, equipment to meet new regulatory requirements and make use of as much renewable energy as possible.

“Industrial companies and other businesses that rely on environmentally and climate-friendly energy can avoid ever-increasing energy and grid connection costs as a benefit from our new Energy-as-a-Service offering,” Said Perry Kuiper, president Sustainable Power Solutions at Rolls-Royce Power Systems. “We use our own new mtu technologies, our system expertise and our global network of partners and service locations to offer our customers an efficient and reliable energy supply on their way to climate neutrality. With Sustainable Development Capital, we have a strong financial partner on board that has successfully developed and financed clean energy, energy efficiency and decentralized energy infrastructure projects since 2007.”

Jonathan Maxwell, CEO and founder of Sustainable Development Capital, said companies that want to avoid high investment costs for their own energy plant and focus on their core business, but still want an energy supply that is precisely designed to meet their needs, will be well served by the offering.

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Total project amount is approximately €1 billion