At the Forefront of Energy Solutions
Business View Magazine interviews representative of APPI Energy for our focus the renewable resources sector
As an independent energy consulting firm APPI energy has been focused on negotiating and brokering power supply agreements for electricity and natural gas in deregulated markets for 26 years. About four years ago, the company took a more holistic approach, launching an energy solutions division which concentrates on energy efficiency, energy conservation and sustainability initiatives for commercial and industrial businesses.
Margo Madden, Vice President, of the division shares that the mandate is to help commercial/industrial and government entities do three main things: reduce energy costs, use less energy, and set, meet and maintain sustainability initiatives.
Based in Salisbury, Maryland, APPI employs 45 people, some of whom work remotely. About the company culture, Madden notes, “We are a focused group of energy consultants. In terms of our values, our founder is a man of integrity, and that really carries through to the rest of the organization.”
This culture extends to the customer support that APPI offers to their clients, as she adds, Many organizations are focused on sales. We have always taken a thought leadership approach and the sales have followed. APPI has also done a fantastic job over the years of building out our support teams so that when we are working with clients, we’re able to help them in all areas of their energy management strategy to include backend and administrative support.”
As for what APPI Energy is currently working on Michael Lewis, Senior Client Advisor, acknowledges, “We focus on any kind of energy conservation and sustainability initiatives associated with technology and project applications, to help customers understand how to reduce costs of gas and electricity.”
Describing several projects including one which involves the installation of solar for a commercial and industrial company he admits, “We are doing more now with the energy storage space, energy storage coupled with solar renewable projects. We are applying certain types of controls and sub metering equipment using a kind of forensic analysis of a building’s energy usage, especially looking at coincidental peaks where everything turns on at the same time, helping those customers reduce their demand charges on their electricity bills.” Evaluating older technologies to help aging industrial facilities upgrade their processes and reduce their costs is another valuable service implemented by the company.
One thing that APPI takes seriously is ensuring that clients and prospects are educated on the products and technologies available to them. “We have a very robust team in house that is focused on putting together collateral around different opportunities that are available to clients and prospects, whether that be in individual states or around specific technologies,” says Madden. “APPI is product and technology agnostic. However, we do want to help our clients implement financially and functionally vetted solutions that will improve their overall operational functionality.”
“Everything from applying new technology to an existing building, to presenting a proposal to a prospective client requires a level of education,” Lewis stresses. “W must be educators from the beginning of the conversation. Businesses would not necessarily be interested in a project if it didn’t save them money, but there is a lot that goes into that analysis.
The focus of the organization is on helping customers be at the forefront of what is happening in the energy space. “We provide a lot of foresight for our customers to the extent that it is possible so that they are protected in their investments, and that they’re going to be able to maximize the returns from their investments. We help customers understand how to meet their goals as they try to make claims towards sustainability and carbon reduction efforts for the next five, ten, twenty years. We are a part of that tip of the spear where we are creating the trends before it’s really understood by a lot of the folks that we compete with in the industry.”
Each of the organizations that APPI Energy works with have their own unique circumstances, and are all at different levels in terms of education, goals and ability to commit. “When it comes to topics such as ESG, renewable energy, or on-site generation I think one of the things APPI has done is really get a good understanding of the organization’s goals and what their motivations are.
“Sometimes a manufacturer is trying to make specific claims about what they’ve done in the renewable space, so that they can be a leader in their vertical while we have others who are slower to adopt certain technologies or certain trends,” explains Madden. She shares that large entities like Ford Motor who are only able to control a portion of their carbon footprint rely on their second and third order suppliers to also take actions to use renewable energy, and become efficient and sustainable themselves, in turn impacting the footprint of the larger organization. “We are serving a lot of businesses that are those first, second, third tier suppliers to Fortune 500 organizations. And this is where at different levels, we are trying to help them cross hurdles that are being required of them, as well as work with those that simply want to be leaders in the space.
As a company, APPI Energy is 100% supplier agnostic on the procurement side, working with all of the top tier suppliers, and continuously vetting those that have come in and out of the market over the past two decades. “We have pulled together the ‘A-team’ of competitive suppliers that we deem credit worthy and have favorable contract terms and conditions for our clients. We allow all of them to compete on our platform in an agnostic way, so that we are presenting an RFP to our clients when they’re looking at energy pricing,” Madden maintains.
“On the solutions side, it is often more difficult to release an RFP for each project, therefore we have formed strategic relationships with best-in-class vendors across the country. We have multiple funding mechanisms so that we’re able to remain agnostic when it comes to how our clients are looking to pay for our project.”
As energy prices continue to rise, APPI Energy is on the front lines of helping clients make educated investments in cost effective technologies, something that pays for itself over time. “Inflation has driven up the cost of materials,” admits Lewis, “So, while the payback does get a little better, we’ve seen wages go up, we’ve seen timelines for materials get stretched out. This is all happening at the same time as we are seeing a big push to make claims towards sustainability and carbon reduction.”
He stresses that all of this has created a great environment for the energy solutions side of APPI, while it has also brought challenges on the brokering front, suggesting, “that has also led to a lot of opportunities because we do a great job of looking out for the best interests of our clients.”
Looking to the future, Madden states that APPI Energy will see a continued effort on the solutions side, with projects that concentrate on energy efficiency and conservation. She conveys, “Being in the energy space for 26 years, most of our business has historically come from the procurement space. The solutions side, and the sustainability path really has become a shift within the way people are looking at energy. I would say over the next couple of years, our goal is to focus on that space and help organizations manage their costs and their objectives from the standpoint of aligning for the future.”
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AT A GLANCE
What: A 26-year-old energy consulting firm focused on sustainability, efficiency and conservation
Where: Salisbury, Maryland
Constellation Energy Corporation – www.constellationenergy.com
Constellation is the nation’s largest producer of carbon-free energy and the leading competitive retail supplier of power and energy products and services for homes and businesses across the United States. Our generation fleet produces enough energy to power 15 million homes and is helping to accelerate the nation’s transition to clean energy.