Explain's top 3 uses in renewable energies

Lola Morvan

Four months after the launch of Explain, the software has already been adopted by many players in renewable energies. During these first months of use, we carefully followed how the tool was handled. Our analyses show that the software supports renewable energy professionals in at least three of their main missions.

Usage 1 — Identifying opportunities

Detecting and qualifying new opportunities is a “core” issue for people who work in territorial prospecting.

When a developer takes responsibility for a new department, he must quickly understand the challenges of the area: the priorities of local decision-makers, news from competitors, new opportunities on his territory.

Today, prospecting teams use Explain in parallel with their GIS software:

  • on the one hand, using their cartographic software, they identify areas where it is technically possible to set up a photovoltaic or wind energy project,
  • On the other hand, with Explain, they qualify the potential for acceptability and prepare their field appointment with a project in perspective.

Use case shared by a Prospection EnR Project Manager in Franche-Comté

From the “Industrial wastelands” alert, this user discovered the existence of a wasteland that met her technical and geographical criteria but that she had not previously identified via her traditional monitoring. She immediately contacted the agglomeration community to advance the project with the stakeholders.

Expertise Explain: gain speed in qualifying the potential of a territory

The themes proposed in the tool allow field teams to obtain information in line with their business needs. Our sectoral expertise has made it possible to provide them with intelligent themes, which are semantic sets built around topics of interest. In particular, they make it possible to eliminate the noise that pollutes usual Internet searches, such as “photovoltaics on the roof” or “domestic wind power” for example.

Overview of the interface — Useful document in Prospecting

Summary of the renewable energy master plan of Comcom Sud Charente, which would include 8 wind turbines, 30 ha of ground photovoltaics, 2 methanization units

Usage 2 — Strengthen your territorial anchoring

We know that the field is a particularly rich source of information for project developers. This is why one of Explain's first missions is to free our users from the time-consuming task of documentary research to allow them to meet stakeholders with the right information.

To build a quality relationship with elected officials in your territory, it is important to know your partner well in order to personalize your approach. When you address an elected official a speech that takes into account their local context, which is relevant to current events in their territory, you are much more likely to be received, to convince and to make the relationship long-lasting.

Bringing these elements into the discussion makes a difference on a human level, beyond the technical quality of a file. This is why EnR project managers use Explain as a tool to prepare for field work.

Use case shared by a project manager Development

This user saw in an article published by the newspaper Sud Ouest a project to repair the main road in the municipality where one of his projects was located: he used this general information to get back in touch with the mayor, congratulate him and open the discussion concerning his development project on the territory. The mayor invited him to a local festival to present the project and create links with the population, an approach that was particularly appreciated by the inhabitants.

Expertise Explain: providing field teams with a political vision of their territory

Explain is designed to improve the relevance of exchanges between private and public actors. The tool makes it possible to quickly identify the right people to contact thanks to the combination of the geographical filter and the elected function filter (from the prefect to the member of the municipal council). The press articles attached to each elected official then provide important information on their latest positions, which allows them to then be contacted with the right arguments.

Overview of the interface — “Elus” input key

Excerpt from the page dedicated to publications related to the function “Mayor of La Rochelle” and the “Wind Energy” theme, i.e. 26 documents

Usage #3 — Anticipate the risks that may threaten your projects

Today, renewable energy projects are strongly subject to changes in the local context: opposition movements, positions taken by neighbouring elected officials on renewable energies, the arrival of competitors in the area, etc.

Today, most of our Wind Energy Development users have between 3 and 7 projects under their responsibility. Projects that are often at different stages of progress: one in the beginning of studies, the other in preparation and yet another that will be subject to a public inquiry in 6 months. In this context, it is particularly difficult to follow the news in each of its territories and that is the strength of Explain: being the eyes and ears of developers in their areas when they cannot physically be there.

Regarding the specific risk of competition, the Product team defines with each of our users an alert per project whose parameters incorporate this need for competitive intelligence, which allows them to be informed when a competitor meets a municipal council in one of their areas of interest, for example.

Use case shared by a Wind Prospection and Development Project Manager

In the report of the city council of a municipality close to the one where he has a project in the study phase, the project manager was alerted to a meeting between one of his competitors and this neighboring municipality. He therefore immediately contacted the mayor of the town where his project is developing to obtain information. He also decided to strengthen his lobbying efforts with the stakeholders of his project to stay one step ahead of his competitor.

Expertise Explain: alert users to possible risks to improve their responsiveness

When onboarding a new customer, the Product team sets up the most relevant alerts with each user according to their profile, scope of responsibility and work habits. On average, Development project managers set up one alert per department with a bi-weekly frequency.

The user can then personalize his alerts according to the progress of his project and the topics that he identifies as decisive, which may change over time and knowledge of the territory, such as certain species of protected animals, for example, specific to each geographical area.

Overview of the interface — Search engine

First results of the search “Opposition à l'” in the department of Ain, showing 71 results for the Press section