Sustainability Advisory Services: Decarbonization Evaluation of Energy Projects


Moorhead, MN







Grants & Funding




WSB was hired by the manufacturer of a national Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) supplier to evaluate and pursue cost-effective decarbonization of their energy supply to their factories. The objective was to identify what opportunities for energy sources, technology solutions and process improvements for optimal affordability, reliability, and climate-friendly solutions for manufacturing-based energy load.

We worked with the client to understand project objectives and the business case for exploring decarbonization of energy sources. A critical first step was to identify internal capacity and information gaps, including understanding the perspective of the customers of the CPG product, as well as factory constraints and opportunities, and key financial metrics for the client’s decision-making processes. Upfront and ongoing support included facilitating conversations with internal leaders, external influencers and industry partners to advance the client’s corporate goals. The multinational customers of the client were asking for consideration of new approaches to meet their global greenhouse gas and other sustainability goals. Through supply chain and other market research, we analyzed scenarios that balance sometimes competing objectives. Ultimately, this effort feeds into the advancement of a broader strategy to advance corporate goals and increase profitability, meanwhile enhancing sustainability performance and operational efficiencies.

We used energy and carbon offset industry experience and connections to assist with due diligence on potential capital investments in various technology sectors including Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) and biogas production, carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS), solar and wind energy options. WSB supported the client in evaluating pros, cons, and tradeoffs of scenarios. Alternatives considered included a range of ownership versus investment scenarios for diversifying their energy supply through current and emerging clean technology approaches such as CCUS for waste steam/heat at factories that can utilize federal tax credits. All energy generation options were compared with carbon offset and Renewable Energy Certificate market and demand analyses to weigh the relative merits of each approach. Other options included factory investments to increase the efficiency of manufacturing processes, including fuel switching to lower greenhouse-gas emitting fuels to investing in capital equipment with a lower energy intensity, such as efficient boilers. The project aimed to de-risk the investments through structuring a portion of the efforts as pilot demonstration projects.

The team identified and evaluated external funding mechanisms that aid in monetization of the investments, such as low carbon fuel standards, renewable energy tax credits, and utility programs for renewable and distributed generation. Funding from private capital to government grants and tax credits were considered. Services also included strategic communications support to understand and navigate customer and stakeholder perspectives.