Why do companies all over the world compete in the races of who can transit to 100% renewable energy quicker?
There are some countries where a level of conscience in society is sufficiently high to develop products that enable the consumption of clean energy. Many big corporations are focused on producing their products and services using clean energy. The biggest global companies do not only practice the purchases of clean energy but also install renewable energy sources, in particular solar power plants near their production facilities, as has been done by Apple and Tesla. Google, for instance, installs solar power plants on the roofs and purchases clean electric power in the market. Unlike Ukraine, some international markets in Europe and America have a physical option to purchase power from suppliers that are dealing with clean energy only. At the moment, the Ukrainian legislation does not provide such an opportunity; however, KNESS Energy is actively working in this direction. In particular, it suggested amendments to the Law about the Market of Electric Energy that allow the Guaranteed Buyer to sell clean electricity at the market of bilateral contracts. This is to enable the supplier to assure the end-user that purchased power is generated using renewables.
What is the situation with the demand for clean energy in the Ukrainian business?
Demand begets supply. Many Ukrainian companies are interested either in consuming clean energy from the market or installing their own clean energy generation sources, That is why we, understanding the social need in clean energy, advocate for changes in regulations. At the moment, the legislation does not provide for the purchase of clean energy in the market – a mix of the heat, nuclear, and renewable energy is formed in the day-ahead market. To form a right mix of electricity from different market segments is a question of the supplier's competence. That means they should assess amounts and ensure minimum imbalances and good service.
What motives do industrial consumers have to transit to clean energy?
At the moment, an understanding is already present among the industrial consumers that it is necessary to consume clean electric power. Power costs are an essential component in the cost of industrial production. The use of clean energy gives an opportunity for saving. For instance, when we install solar modules within the consumer's responsibility, then no payment for transit and distribution is added for power generated this way while expenditures to adjust for imbalances decrease. Emergence of renewable energy sources that are connected directly to the consumer allows to enhance the decentralization of the power supply system, i.e. to become more independent and save on power purchase.
In your opinion, are there companies in Ukraine that are 100% renewable?
In the light of current legislation, it is not possible to speak about 100% renewable companies; however, I can say that there are energy-positive companies – those producing more energy than they consume – in Ukraine. KNESS Group, with its SPPs, generates and supplies to the grid more clean energy than all group's offices and plants consume. Many companies are interested in consuming clean power only. As expenditures for the construction of new renewable energy sources are lower than for the development of any other power plants, Ukraine should focus on this objective. On amendments to the legislation, on decentralization of the power supply system, on ensuring that the consumers have their own sources of generation and can, partially or entirely, diversify their dependence on big centralized power plants.
What does KNESS Energy look like today?
KNESS Energy, as a final supplier, fully rounds out the services package of the group of companies: from the creation of a new renewable generation facility, its maintenance, and to selling electricity it generates directly to the end user: the production, the office, the enterprise... The company's personnel is divided into four structural units: supply of the commercial electricity accounting services; forecasting amounts of power produced; a contractual department that is responsible for relations with external market agents; and a department of power supply that performs analysis and everyday trading at the day-ahead market, coordinates power accounting and bills consumers, i.e., calculates the production cost of a kWh for the end-user. At the moment, we provide our services to more than 20 companies. For the most part, these are service sector companies, big industrial enterprises, as well as shopping malls, and even private entrepreneurs.
What is the difference between working with KNESS Energy and using services of other suppliers?
At present, there are quite many suppliers – around 200. KNESS Energy is different in that it reduces the client's expenditures for power purchase. How? We reduce the amount of imbalance and install power quality monitors. Each consumer knows that they should not pay for low-quality power in full.
It is necessary to submit claims against the distribution system operators or the transmission system operators for low-quality electricity supplied. There is a DSTU standard that clearly describes power quality parameters. All those parameters should be controlled by the supplier. Moreover, KNESS Energy defends the interests of its clients vis-a-vis system operators. Unfortunately, not every supplier complies with its license responsibilities. The KNESS Energy company pursues strict policy regarding work with users' complaints and enuring transparency of end-user billing for power. Universal service suppliers sometimes produced faulty bills, showed exorbitant figures, and the users did not know where to go, and didn't understand what comprises a per-kWh price.
How big is a share of those working with renewable energy sources among all companies that presently work as suppliers of electric power in Ukraine?
Presently, there are no such suppliers except us. Products offered by KNESS Energy are innovative in the market. It is, for instance, installation of photovoltaic modules close to load centers, because, for ten years, KNESS Group gained expertise in both construction and maintenance of solar power plants. Another innovative component of our product is in contracting power supply in quantities optimal for the consumer. Other companies demonstrate some gaps in this respect.
Why is your work important?
A decision to develop mainly renewables, seemingly, has been made in the state, but every person in the country, every citizen has to realize the value of clean energy. It is not just measured by money. It lies in the fact that power generated from renewable sources means sustainable development. We need to speak about sustainability – humankind should conduct economic activities in such a manner that will protect the environment we use. You needn't look hard; this year's winter is a vivid example that we are not following a path of sustainable development. There was almost no snow. This year shortages of drinking water are expected in many cities – this is where a lack of sustainable development has led. In particular, in our state as well.