Alternus Energy Group Plc (Alternus) is an international vertically integrated independent power producer (IPP). They install, own, and operate utility scale solar PV assets.
Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, the company’s current portfolio consists of 37 solar parks across Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, and Poland, producing more than 140 megawatt peak (MWp) of clean energy. Alternus Energy aims to own and operate over 3.5 gigawatts (GW) of solar parks by 2025. To offer some idea of that scale, 1 gigawatt of solar PV provides enough energy to power up to 725,000 homes, given several factors including geography, seasonality, and electricity demand.
To keep pace with their ambitious goals and to position themselves as a leading force in the clean energy space, project management of the installation schedule was a high priority. Excel spreadsheets were the primary tool for data extraction and reporting, and analysis proved to be labor-intensive.
“We needed a holistic approach to help us define the necessary information at a project-level across the entire portfolio,” recalls Larry Farrell, chief information officer at Alternus.
Adds Pat Kiernan, project manager at Alternus, “We needed a system that could assist and monitor project delivery and at the same time ensure each department had the relevant information at the right time.”
Kiernan credits Farrell with the foresight to transform their project controls system. As the pipeline of active projects grew, the requirement to control a large volume of data grew and the company reached a pinch point. They evaluated multiple options throughout 2020, none of which addressed all of their needs.
Oracle Primavera Cloud Service quickly rose to the top of the Alternus list, offering cloud hosting and a subscription model, both of which were attractive to the company. One of the key selling points was the ability of the tool to configure to Alternus’ acquisition process that varies depending on a project’s stage of development.
Farrell found that Oracle Primavera Cloud Service offered significantly more features for planning and scheduling and provided sharper predictability of project outcomes.
“We’re bringing in a sledgehammer to crack a walnut,” Farrell says, adding that there was a key reason to go big. “If you under-specify a solution, you can outgrow it very quickly. Oracle Primavera Cloud Service can monitor and report on all stages of the project lifecycle but it is most valuable for us to ensure successful project delivery.”
Since its implementation in early 2021, the Alternus team have been focused on collating and inputting project data. Oracle Primavera Cloud Service is a large database, so it is only as good as the data entered, Farrell says.
“Once you’ve entered the information, you have the ability to extract that data in many forms; what you measure you see, what you see you can control,” he adds. “It’s a tool that speaks our language,” he says. Farrell was confident that the solution would meet their needs.
Licensing is simplified for Alternus with Oracle Primavera Cloud Service, with the ability to transfer licenses and provide temporary access to external personnel for example during a project’s installation phase.
“We can transfer licenses from one contractor to the next if required making the software attractive from both a usage and cost perspective,” Farrell says.
After several months of implementation, Oracle Primavera Cloud Service’s ability to track cash flow has improved the organization’s ability to forecast and manage cash flow. In an industry where “cash flow is king,” as Farrell notes, that’s an extremely powerful feature.
Depending on what stage a project is at, investment milestones must be achieved if the project is to stay on target. Oracle Primavera Cloud Service provides the company with the ability to monitor and manage this cash flow throughout the project lifecycle and program alerts to schedule payments.
“We are able to analyze data across a project or an entire portfolio, enabling data to be placed in the hands of key decision makers quickly,” Farrell says.
The renewable energy industry faces several challenges to achieve decarbonization targets that are in place across Europe and many other parts of the world. The industry is growing thanks to maturity, technology advances, and increased investment.
“Investment in renewables is growing at a rapid pace due to the growing need for the world to adhere to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria and the attractiveness that a clean energy investment can provide,” Farrell says. As the industry grows so too does the need for speed and agility to competition, Oracle Primavera Cloud Service supports Alternus to complete projects quickly and efficiently.
“We selected Oracle Primavera Cloud Service because of its agility that enables us to quickly grow our portfolio in an increasingly competitive market.”
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