Exceedence – Techno-financial software for renewable energy projects
The renewable energy start-up, Exceedence, offers a techno-financial software system for renewable energy projects. The aim is to reduce the time to commercialisation and to increase profitability for renewables, and hence help accelerate the decarbonisation of the energy system.
The European Green Deal and the EU’s binding renewable energy target of at least 32% by 2030 creates vast opportunities for the renewable sector. However, developers of emerging technologies like floating wind, wave and tidal will need to make important technical and economic decisions to achieve the cost reductions that are required to secure their place in a decarbonised energy system. ExceedenceFINANCE is an end-to-end software system for offshore wind, tidal, and wave energy, with both desktop and cloud versions. The system enables businesses to plan, optimise and de-risk investments in offshore wind and marine renewables.
The Cork-based company is a spin-out from the from University College Cork, where the concept was originally developed to facilitate like-for-like due diligence of ocean energy devices. Exceedence was founded by Dr Raymond Alcorn in 2015, and is located at the Environmental Research Institute in Cork.
User-friendly financial modelling
“Currently much of the industry relies on spreadsheets to conduct financial modelling, and many businesses need to employ consultants to create them. This is costly, causes maintainability issues, and reduces future potential for customers to analyse their models”, Brendan Cahill, Business Operations Manager at Exceedence, explains. Market research done by Exceedence indicates that approximately 80 percent of the time is spent on the model build, understanding the basics of the project and on audit control. This gives limited time for value-adding activities like scenario planning, stress testing and optimising the project. “Our software offers a standardised and user-friendly way to technically and financially model and optimise renewable projects that will correct this balance”, he continues.
A novel solution for renewable projects
ExceedenceFINANCE allows users to build financial models of their renewable energy projects quickly, combining resource and technology performance data with costs and revenues, to produce key financial metrics and cash flows. This creates a financial digital twin throughout the project lifetime, allowing optimisation and scenario planning from initial feasibility studies, to investment decisions and through to operation and end of life. This end-to end solution makes ExceedenceFINANCE different from other software tools, which tend to focus on the technical aspects of the projects. The target users span the full value chain, including project developers, engineering consultancies, technology developers, utilities and project financiers.
“While many competitors offer technical analysis of project yield, few provide the same depth of financial analysis. Our aim is to win over in-house teams and consultants and secure them as customers. We can improve on their processes by giving them a tool that removes their pain points with spreadsheets. ExceedenceFINANCE is easy to reuse and update, independent and auditable. Because the software is cloud-based and the architecture built around web services, we can deliver bespoke packages to larger clients and integrate with other industry tools, which we have already shown we can do in previous projects”, Brendan comments. The software tool is accessible 24/7 and facilitates closer collaboration among teams.
Great value-added potential
A recent case study conducted by Exceedence showed that it is possible to identify a €40m underperformance over the lifetime of a small wind farm. Their software system makes it possible to identify and manage risks effectively, and Brendan underlines that this shows how ExceedenceFINANCE has the potential to add significant value to renewable projects.
He considers the participation in several projects and a dedicated long-term focus to be their main reasons for success. “We have had many opportunities to participate in funded projects and undertake consultancy work, however we have managed to maintain a focus on our long-term commercial strategy of growing revenue from software sales. While these activities could have been distractors, we have instead been able to use them as deep market research and product development milestones, which has allowed us to confirm our product-market fit and build experience and credibility”.
Focusing on the offshore wind sector
When asked about the next phase, Brendan explains that Exceedence is aiming to increase their presence and sales in the offshore wind sector. “Moving to cloud-based architecture has opened up a step-change in the functionality we can provide to users, along with the potential to integrate with other complementary industry tools. We are now focusing on building specific modules to address under-served needs in the offshore wind sector. To achieve this we would like to do more work with established project developers, building pilot projects that will help us identify additional use cases we can support with our software, while demonstrating our value proposition to the industry”, adds Brendan.
Exceedence currently consists of five full-time employees, but plans to expand significantly over the next year. The team combines an extensive blend of expertise in the energy domain, particularly in the offshore renewables market.