The global specialist in energy management and automation to be carbon neutral by 2040
BY FATIHAH MANAF
Due to its commitment and contribution to sustainability, Schneider Electric was voted the most sustainable corporation in 2021 by Corporate Knights Global. The company built its substantial presence in sustainable energy management by providing integrated solutions to its global customers.
Manish Pant, the Zone President for East Asia & Japan of Schneider Electric, believed the drive to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees was crucial and that renewable energy was at the centre of it. He highlighted digitisation as the way forward to advance sustainability further.
“Schneider’s purpose is to empower all. We want to make the most of our energy and resources, bridging progress and sustainability for all. We call this ‘Life Is On’. It is our mission to be the partners of our customers for sustainability and efficiency,” said Pant.
He explained sustainability had been at the core of Schneider Electric’s corporate strategy.
“It’s a commitment was extended across all our business operations in buildings and the end-to-end supply chain,” he told @greenXtra.
Setting an ambitious carbon neutral goal
Pant revealed the company had set a bold ambition by setting the target to be carbon neutral by 2040, 10 years ahead of the world’s target. He also shared that Schneider Electric’s East Asia & Japan headquarters in Singapore, where he’s based, was 100 per cent solar-powered.
“It’s a 25-year-old retrofitted building. We have reduced carbon emissions by almost 1600 tonnes,” said Pant, adding Schneider Electric’s factory in Shah Alam was also fully sustainable as it generated its solar energy.
“What we do for us, we also do for our customers. We have our sustainability services doing up to 10 gigawatts of renewable energy sourcing for our clients worldwide.
“We are committed to having our energy completely moving to renewables for what we consume in Schneider Electric by 2030.”
Pant shared that, since 2018, Schneider Electric has helped customers save and avoid 302 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions through its solutions.
“One of the things that we have done in April this year is to launch our zero-carbon project, which is very ambitious, where we partner with our top 1000 suppliers representing almost 70 per cent of Schneider’s upstream carbon emission.
“Together with them, we want to reduce the footprint by 50 per cent by 2025. It’s a very bold ambition. Sustainability is about working on the full ecosystem. Therefore, it is important to embark with our partners on this journey.”
Implications of renewable energy growth
He believed the growth of renewable energy deployment at the centre of the Southeast Asian region would have huge implications.
He explained: “It is helping in the growth of technology. So, it is helping us to continue to innovate, to invest and to keep on making sure that this technology will become much more cost-efficient.”
Pant emphasised the growth would also lead to the advanced distribution management system, which would result in higher resiliency and reliability of energy grid and storage. He shared that Schneider Electric worked with multiple utility companies to integrate renewables into the utility system and provide automated restoration optimisation of the grid performance.
“I would say the third key implication is on employment. The higher the deployment of renewable, the higher the job prospects in the renewable sector.
“It’s also helping in terms of gender balance. In the energy sector, women account for on average
32 per cent of the jobs in renewables.”
Pant agreed the landscape of politics, social and economics had also changed following the evolution of the energy sector. He believed the deployment of renewable energy would also give significant implications to financing.
“In the world of clean energy, a new set of winners are going to emerge. Countries that are mastering clean technology and exporting green energy are going to gain from this new system.
“We have to master the energy challenge. The increase of digital and data requires sustainable energy sources to power all the new investments.
“One of the things that we see with energy is that, as electricity grows, digitisation grows as well. The two are going together to support sustainability and decarbonisation.
“Digitisation supports electrification. And, vice-versa,” explained Pant, adding the government plays an essential role in deploying these technologies.
In the Malaysian context, Pant said the adoption of clean energy would reduce the cost of power generation, bring more investments and export activities, create job opportunities and establish Malaysia as the leader in renewable energy.
Providing cost-efficient solutions
Pant then discussed the increased deployment of microgrids and agreed that renewable energy needs to be more affordable and flexible.
“Here at Schneider, we are pioneering something called as GreenStruxure, which can offer energy as a service solution to medium-sized buildings or medium-sized installations, which can avoid the CAPEX and move to renewables by buying renewable energy as a service.
“As a consequence, they can get resilient and sustainable energy, and more importantly, a predictable cost.”
Pant stated that putting microgrids and Schneider Electric’s business model together would help customers overcome cost and mass deployment issues.
“As we talk about clean energy, we also have to talk about access to power. Let’s also recognise that many people globally, especially in emerging economies, don’t have access to electricity.
“This is something that we want to provide. We aim to provide 80 million people access to electricity by 2030,” said Pant, adding that Schneider Electric strives to provide sustainable energy solutions and develop the skills of the local people in the respective areas through its Access to Energy programme.