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Social Innovation

How Digital Solutions Are Driving Our Sustainable Energy Future

Flip a switch on your wall and the light chases away the dark. Press a button on a remote and your television brings you entertainment and news from around the world. Set a thermostat and your home is cooled or warmed to your exact comfort level. The always-available energy that powers the comforts and conveniences of modern life is something that most of us take for granted. We don’t even have to think about it; it’s just there when we need it.

But energy providers such as Energy Harbor certainly have to think about it. And the thinking that lies behind the energy availability we so often take for granted is far more complex than it once was.

That’s a good thing. Motivated by environmental consciousness and social demands, forward-looking companies like Energy Harbor know the value of navigating the complexities that come with transitioning to safer, cleaner, more sustainable forms of energy. They’re also finding powerful partners to help them manage those complexities — companies like Hitachi.

Managing energy takes a lot of energy — and no small amount of smarts

Energy Harbor is a producer and retail supplier of energy, serving nearly a million customers and producing more than 30 million megawatt hours a year of clean, carbon-free energy. Energy Harbor’s generation and retail energy solutions enable it to meet its customers’ energy and sustainability needs.

As Energy Harbor’s manager of portfolio optimization, Angelita Laymon works with her team to manage data inputs for generation supply, wholesale trading, and retail load forecasting, providing strategic reporting and portfolio analysis for key stakeholders.

But it’s not that simple. Her job also involves evaluating long- and short-term risks, leading gas supply interactions, developing models for various markets, navigating market volatility, and managing risk for the company and for customers. She also coordinates with a trading department tasked with buying and locking in hedges to help manage risk and provide various retail products including fixed pricing to customers.

And it gets even more complicated. Laymon’s team must also manage the variety of energy in the company’s portfolio — carbon-free versus otherwise — and match those forms of energy to customer products. As a clean energy producer and renewables trader and retailer, Energy Harbor helps companies offset their carbon footprint by providing 100% clean, carbon-free energy to customers that request it.

Energy Harbor uses Hitachi’s TRMTracker to monitor clean energy inventory

Laymon’s job is not easy, but it’s been made considerably less difficult with Hitachi’s ETRM solution. “An ETRM system is an energy trading risk management system,” Laymon says. “Energy Harbor uses Hitachi’s TRMTracker. We have all our wholesale trades in the ETRM, along with all of our retail load and our energy generation forecast. So, we are able to compile a complete position from the information in the system.”

Laymon noted that TRMTracker also holds the forecast for the company’s carbon-free inventory. “We have customers who’ve elected to consume only a carbon-free product. Having a system that maintains both pieces — the carbon-free inventory and customers desiring carbon-free energy — allows us to monitor how much more carbon-free energy we have available to offer new customers at any time.”

Energy Harbor also uses TRMTracker to keep track of carbon-free-only customers and to invoice those customers appropriately. The company even provides certificates to carbon-free customers that track their carbon-free usage. “As a clean energy producer, we help companies offset their carbon footprint by matching their energy consumption with emissions-free energy certificates that we retire on their behalf,” Laymon explained.

So, Energy Harbor produces clean energy, purchases clean energy, and with the help of TRMTracker, helps customers meet their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals by offsetting their energy consumption with carbon-free power.

Working smarter — not harder — with smart technology

TRMTracker has certainly made life easier for Laymon and her team at Energy Harbor, and data has been a key component. “Most of our products are data driven,” Laymon says. “Having the information available and understanding the unique attributes of our customers allows us to provide these products.” Laymon also added that TRMTracker provides many data points for retail customers that her team had not been able to access previously.

Just as important, TRMTracker helps to protect the company: “We’re also able to review our hedging strategies to make sure that we’re putting the right hedges in place to manage the risk in our business,” Laymon says.

Simplified, safer energy management for the age of clean energy

Uday Baral, Hitachi Energy’s head of global energy planning and trading, fully understands the difficulties that portfolio managers such as Laymon face on a daily basis. “My role is to ensure that our customers are served with the best energy portfolio management solution and customer service,” Baral says. “And an energy trading and risk management system allows our customers to manage the entire value chain of their energy portfolio. Additionally, the software must support our customers’ desires to manage their carbon neutrality goals while staying profitable.”

Energy Harbor uses Hitachi’s ETRM system , an energy trading and risk management system

Recognized as an award-winning ETRM system, Hitachi Energy’s TRMTracker checks all those boxes and more, giving companies like Energy Harbor a single source of truth that lets them:

  • Track and manage Energy Attribute Certificates
  • Track greenhouse gas emission and carbon accounting
  • More easily engage in multi-commodity trading
  • Gain real-time visibility and enhance decision-making
  • Improve hedging and reduce missed deal opportunities

TRMTracker also provides comprehensive back-office functionality currently available among ETRM solutions.

For Energy Harbor, TRMTracker has opened up a world of new possibilities in managing the problems, risks and price volatilities that are inherent in the energy industry. “We’re using data every day in new and powerful ways. We have so much information that we’ve never had before,” Laymon says.

A data-driven approach to risk mitigation for energy producers and suppliers

Few industries face the broad range of fluctuating variables and risk potential as do energy producers and suppliers. And that makes an ETRM solution such as TRMTracker a necessity. “Our customers need to satisfy unprecedented sustainability requirements set by themselves, their customers and the regulators,” Baral says. “It is impossible to manage the entire value chain of energy, as well as meet environmental targets, attributes and compliance, without the use of software.”

Energy Harbor’s deployment of TRMTracker has been a satisfying experience for both client and provider. “I love putting pieces together. And having our data in this system allows me to put the pieces of data together to gain insights and to provide new business intelligence,” Laymon says.

Baral adds, “It gives me great satisfaction to know I'm part of the solution for customers like Energy Harbor, getting to know them personally and helping them solve their business challenges.”

And, for the world at large, when companies like Hitachi and Energy Harbor team up, we can work more efficiently toward a cleaner, more sustainable energy future for all.

To learn more about Hitachi Energy’s mission to help achieve a decarbonized society and meet the United Nations’ sustainable goals, visit Hitachi's energy solutions page. For more information about Hitachi’s ETRM solutions — ranked No. 1 in the 2021 Energy Risk Software Rankings — visit Hitachi’s ETRM overview page.

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