When considering the idea of the new electric world, discussion has long centered around questions of uncertainty – how much will it cost to implement? Is it going to be feasible? What are the economic incentives? Are we even ready?
Tough questions, but as I shared at Innovation Summit Barcelona – alongside Verdantix MD Rodolphe d’Arjuzon – we live in an era where there is much greater certainty than in the past. Climate change and its impacts on human lives are not questions any more. As our Chairman & CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire explained it in his keynote speech in Barcelona, we must tackle climate change in the next 20 years. To limit global warming to below 2°C, CO2 emissions need to be divided by 2 by 2040. How can this be achieved?
We now have started to have answers. The core of the issue today is the large amount of CO2 emissions which keeps accumulating in the atmosphere. 85% of emissions are related to energy. If we want to meet the challenge of CO2 emissions, we then need to invent a new electric world.
We believe that electric and digital are the recipe for success. Indeed, electricity is the most efficient energy and digitization can help unlock great opportunities for achieving additional efficiency gains by connecting and controlling demand.
More affordable renewable energy
A major step as we head towards a new electric world has been the decline in the cost of renewables. As Mr d’Arjuzon explained: “Subsidies have worked, all those questions about how much will it cost, is it going to be feasible, what are the economic incentives? We’re there, we can produce renewable energy at grid parity, you can buy your solar power at $40 per MWh in California, you can buy your onshore and offshore wind at £45 and £55 per MWh in the UK compared to nuclear which is at £90-odd. That has worked and spurred a huge amount of investment in renewable technology.”
The New Electric World is already here!
An example of this new electric world is Lidl Finland’s resilient and connected logistics center. Their carbon-neutral building runs exclusively on renewable energy and its building management system helps optimize energy usage to minimize emissions. It was achieved by combining Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Building Operation with Microgrid Adviser. With this solution, it is the first building in Finland to combine heating and cooling systems so the excess heat from the cooling can be stored and used when the weather gets colder. Lidl estimates the energy cost savings have exceeded 70%, and the building is also helping reduce the CO2 emissions of a nearby power station.
The Lidl Finland story is not an isolated case. Still, there are so much more stories to write. I am excited about the progress made so far and I look forward to hearing more about our collective journey to Invent the New Electric World.
For more, check out my Strategy Talk from Innovation Summit Barcelona 2019.
This blog post is part of a series from Innovation Summit Barcelona 2019, a two-day event that brought together more than 3,500 industry professionals, solution experts, and IoT leaders to discuss about global trends, generate bold ideas and foster digital economy.
To know more about Innovation Summit Barcelona 2019, check the other blog posts from this series: