It is time to address the triple crisis – energy, the economy, and climate – that governments, businesses and consumers around the globe now face with new actions and initiatives, the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Schneider Electric warned yesterday.
“In a time of global crisis, we must have complete clarity on our journey and destination,” said Jean-Pascal Tricoire in a keynote speech that launched the company’s Innovation Summit, taking place this week in Las Vegas.
“The current energy crisis is only the tip of the iceberg. With energy demand globally anticipated to grow three-fold in the next 30 years, it’s vital that we deploy all the technologies that are already available now to accelerate electrification, digitization and sustainability.”
The succession of disruptions, he said, started with the pandemic and was followed by geopolitical tensions that have created “probably the most severe energy crisis we’ve known since the 1970s. Today, we are in the depth of it.”
In addition to those two catastrophic events is climate change, which is impacting the economies of every nation as well as every human being, said Tricoire.
He made the comments in a joint address with Aamir Paul, president of Schneider Electric North America.
Key topics discussed included:
The future of sustainability, the two said, depends on interoperability and breaking down siloes across value chain partners.
Electricity as the most efficient form of energy and the best vector for decarbonization. Because it is cleaner than burning fossil fuels, it has “advantages for electrifying homes, buildings and transportation,” they said. “Together, electrification and digitization are key to doing more with less energy and with fewer resources.”
The urgent need for action, as this is a “pivotal moment when sustainable commitments can become a reality” as a result of technology advances.
“The Moment is Now is the theme of the event, and you are going to hear that over and over again,” said Paul. “A lot of companies here have made commitments about where they are going to be in (terms) of their carbon footprint by 2030. The year 2030 is less than 30 quarters away. To put that in perspective, we have been in the pandemic period for 10 quarters. We have less time than we think, and incremental thinking is not going to work – we have to go much faster.
“Ours is the first generation to understand the reality of our climate challenges, and the last one that can do something about it. We’re at a pivotal moment to lead in the journey to net zero and the key to reaching our sustainability goals is embracing a digital and electrical-first future.”
The two also discussed findings from a recent report from the Schneider Electric Research Institute, which revealed that if all of the available technologies were combined and deployed at scale, the potential exists to lower carbon emissions by two-thirds by 2030, while generating savings on the energy spend for building dwellers that could reach 70 per cent.
In it, authors of the report state that the “building sector is in a decarbonization deadlock and change remains too slow. Yet, the solutions exist to break this deadlock and rapidly accelerate the decarbonization of the stock, at a pace and at a scale which are probably overlooked. For that to happen, however, will require the embracing of modern solutions and innovative approaches. Today’s problems will not be solved with yesterday’s solutions.”
Paul, meanwhile, stressed that any type of disruptive change goes through three distinct phases. At first, it is considered crazy, then dangerous and last, but not least, obvious.
“What we can assure you is, if you wait until it’s obvious, it is too late. It is too late for you as a supplier, it is too late for you as an integrator, it is too late for you as a distributor, and it is certainly too late for you as an end-user,” he said.
“We have to accelerate the pace of change and what we thought we could do in months, we have to do in weeks.”
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