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The Path to Renewables Success: The Value of Owner’s Engineering

2 construction workers walking in solar panels
November 20, 2023

As the renewable energy market continues to grow and expand at an exponential pace, delivering projects on time and on budget becomes more important than ever before. Owner’s Engineering plays a key, significant role in helping project owners effectively manage risk as well as achieve project goals — a cornerstone for successful project completion.

Unpacking Owner’s Engineering

An Owner’s Engineer (OE) is an advocate charged with seeing a project from inception to completion, serving as an invaluable extension of the project owner’s engineering team, department or business unit, and are needed when internal resource constraints are an issue. An OE places clients’ interests at the forefront through a project’s entire lifecycle.

“Traditionally, some OEs were only focused on performing an independent review of another’s engineering, designs or calculations,” says Nick Knezevich, Market Leader in Ulteig’s Renewables sector. “Ulteig embraces a progressive model to support a much broader and valuable level of support.”

Some key responsibilities of an OE on a renewables project may include:

  • Managing early-stage development and pre-construction activities
  • Assisting with the development of pre-construction deliverables
  • Guiding through all phases of design and construction
  • Assisting with commissioning
  • Providing post-construction performance and environmental monitoring

OEs play a pivotal role in guiding a client’s team. They not only highlight contract requirements, industry standards and best practices, but also engage in meaningful discussions regarding the significance of these standards and requirements. These discussions extend beyond compliance, aiming to demonstrate the benefits to the client and the project, such as potential cost savings. Additionally, OEs can evaluate the feasibility of incurring additional upfront costs from a project risk mitigation standpoint, ultimately leading to reduced overall project costs upon completion.

Collaborative Decision-Making

OEs work collaboratively with clients to provide a holistic view of a project. By leveraging their technical know-how, they empower owners to make informed decisions that align with project goals and financial considerations and provide insights that extend beyond technicalities to encompass the larger project context.

Risk Management and Quality Assurance

An OE will evaluate a project’s design, construction and operational plans to identify potential risks that could impact project schedules and budgets. They ensure project goals are met with the highest quality.

Project Oversight and Stakeholder Alignment

An OE serves as a representative for communication and coordination among various stakeholders, including project engineers and contractors. By both aligning stakeholders and facilitating effective communication, OEs ensure that the project progresses smoothly and stays on track. This minimizes the burden of responsibility from the client themselves in managing these components of a complex project.

Community Support, Environmental Considerations

Renewable energy projects often interact with local communities, and Ulteig’s OEs play a crucial role in supporting clients with potential community impacts during construction. This support  may include conducting studies to assess noise and visual impacts, evaluating cultural and archaeological sensitivities, supporting community outreach during pre-construction and facilitating public and landowner meetings during the construction and commissioning phase of the project.

Ulteig’s OEs can assist clients in navigating regulatory frameworks and ensuring compliance with local, state and federal requirements, fostering positive relationships and promoting sustainable project development.

Market Trends Driving Increased OE Needs

Several factors are heightening the value of Owner’s Engineering for renewable projects. As project scale and complexity grow larger, so do the risks, requiring greater coordination. Technological advancements and political incentives also play a role in tandem — the recent Inflation Reduction Act is unleashing a flood of new development that requires careful management to perform as planned.

Ulteig’s Owner Engineering Experience

From collaborative insights to meticulous market considerations, Ulteig’s team of experts is poised to empower clients and drive the seamless execution of sustainable energy projects, narrowing the divide between project inception and successful realization.

Ulteig can consult clients by helping them understand what they should be receiving from their Engineer of Record (EOR) partners, when it should be received and how those submittals play into the larger design of a complete facility.

Josh Pauly, Ulteig’s Associate Director of Project Management, emphasizes “Ultimately, we strive to surpass the conventional scope of reviewer in the OE role; we stand as genuine partners acting on our clients’ behalf to advocate for project goals.”

Let’s partner and put your next project on the map. For more information, get in touch with us today.

  • Energy, Expertise, PDS, Solar, Wind


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