Bronte Wilson is a Business Development Manager at Shell Energy, working within our expert Energy Solutions team. She works alongside our customers, with support and guidance from the wider Energy Solutions team, to develop and implement innovative solutions to help them optimise their energy consumption and reduce their energy spend.
We sat down with Bronte to gain deeper insight into her two main projects: implementing Smart Energy Hubs at multiple shopping centre sites and giving businesses which lease their sites the opportunity to benefit from on-site solar power. Keep reading to learn more about Bronte’s story and why these projects are crucial for Australia’s decarbonisation journey.
I am a Brissie-raised girl but moved to Melbourne five years ago as I wanted a bit of a change and different life experience. After graduating university, I took a funny approach to entering the professional world and threw out a bunch of feelers for options of what I wanted to do, including an overseas Spanish teaching programme. The first thing that landed was an offer to work in an innovation team for an energy company in Melbourne. So, I guess you could say I fell into renewable energy. Five years later, I still love the industry and think it’s such an exciting space to be involved in.
As a Business Development Manager with Shell Energy, I sit within our Energy Solutions team and am focused on supporting large business customers with behind-the-meter solar, battery and energy efficiency projects. I work side-by-side with our customers, and with the invaluable support of the wider Energy Solutions team, to deliver and implement innovative new energy solutions, as well as aiding them in securing funding for their energy efficiency projects.
I’ve been in my current role for just over a year now and have realised that it combines a few different things I enjoy: talking to customers directly and helping them meet their energy needs, collaborating with the wider Shell Energy team to develop and test new innovative projects, and learning from smart and passionate people. When I first imagined what a sales role would look like, I thought it would be focused on numbers and be transactional when it came to customer interactions, but my role doesn’t feel like that at all. Instead, I’m very much focused on building upon the relationships with our customers established by senior members of the team, working alongside them as energy partners, troubleshooting issues, and implementing long-term projects we can build upon together.
I work on a few distinct programmes. One of these is called Smart Energy Hubs, which is a large Shell Energy and ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency) co-funded program, focused on commercialising integrated solar, BESS (Battery Energy Storage System), HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning), and EV (Electric Vehicle) charging solutions that provide multiple services to a site, and the grid more broadly. With Smart Energy Hubs, we are essentially creating an integrated energy ecosystem where different assets are controlled in a smart and dynamic way to optimise energy usage and costs, as well as generating revenue from providing services to the grid and energy market in times of need.
The other project I look after is a solar program for businesses who rent warehouses and logistics sites from different real estate investment trusts. This program is all about putting solar on the roofs of these tenants and charging them a cost of energy for that solar that is cheaper than their current cost of grid energy, helping them to reduce their energy bill as well as their energy consumption and carbon footprint. The solar for tenants program is unique in that historically, it’s been hard for businesses renting on shorter term leases to buy a solar system, pay for and install it, and achieve their return on investment before they move out again. All the barriers that have prevented businesses from accessing solar when they lease a property, we’ve overcome with this program.
The Smart Energy Hubs project is meaningful because it’s the first of its kind in Australia to optimise all the different components of a site’s energy consumption and infrastructure. We’re really testing a model that should be able to reduce the carbon footprint and energy costs of buildings moving forward, while reducing the upfront cost and payback associated with putting in this kind of infrastructure by monetising it in clever ways. I also think working with large energy users on various parts of their operations to create solutions that reduce their energy emissions is an important part of Australia’s decarbonising journey more broadly.
In the case of our solar for tenants program, these tenants have limited opportunities with solar to reduce their energy costs because they don’t own the roof the solar panels would be installed upon, and their lease cycle is often shorter than the payback period for solar installation. This program is about empowering them to reduce their energy costs and use on-site renewable energy. As these tenants are renting from other large property businesses, this in turn helps those businesses reduce their scope 3 emissions.
Why I think Shell Energy is different, and what first attracted me to working here, is how exciting the projects are, and how innovative Shell Energy is with new products and services and solving problems for customers and the industry more broadly. All our projects are large and complex, and we develop tailored solutions to achieve positive outcomes for our customers.
I really value the focus that Shell Energy puts on working alongside our customers as energy partners to continually build on and expand the energy solutions we implement. With the large businesses I’m currently helping, with the support and guidance from senior members of my team, I’m able to work on everything in their portfolio and we work openly, effectively and transparently with each other.
If you’re interested in having Shell Energy work alongside your business as your energy partner to reduce your energy emissions and lower your energy costs, get in touch and a member of our expert energy efficiency team will be more than happy to discuss how we can help.
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