Making the Future Electric and Digital with Electricity 4.0: Insights from Hannover Messe

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Last May in Hannover, at one of the world’s largest trade fairs, we shared our vision of the New Electric World.

We believe a more electric and digital world is key to a sustainable and resilient future. That’s the fastest path to a net-zero future, as Liani Toro Caballero (Tendering Manager MV Switchgears & Transformers); Cordelia Thielitz (VP Strategy Europe); Gerold Goeldner (Head of Marketing Sustainability DACH), explained during their Innovation Talks on ‘Electricity 4.0 : Our fastest route to Net Zero’ at Hannover Messe.

If we’re serious about tackling climate change, we need to simplify the challenge and target the biggest contributors. So, let’s start with a simple statement…  climate change is about energy!

Why? Because over 80% of global CO2 emissions come from the production and consumption of energy*.

The evolution of electricity from its inception until today, at the dawn of Electricity 4.0, is fascinating. You can read all about it here but without going too deeply into the subject, one key takeaway is that the old way of generating, distributing, and consuming energy has to go if we wish to stay within 1.5C pathway to avoid climate catastrophe.

Electricity 4.0 for smart, clean energy

Energy, just like every other commodity, has its own value chain. To fight climate change, we need to re-evaluate every stage of that value chain.

Historically, it has been linear, starting on the supply side and producing energy in huge quantities from  large power stations.  This was typically done by “burning stuff” (and therefore becoming the primary contributor to carbon emissions). The energy produced was then distributed over vast distances to points of consumption that would then use the available energy. This type of production, distribution and consumption led to a massive 60% inefficiency, or waste**, of energy.

Global energy demand will only continue to grow, driven by population and economic growth. The US Energy Information Agency (EIA) expects it to increase by 47% in the next 30 years***. This poses a seemingly unsolvable challenge: how to sustain that demand while curbing emissions? Or, in other words, how to do more with less?

Harnessing the convergence of digital and electric, Electricity 4.0 has the potential to drive efficiency and sustainability to power a New Electric World. Electricity is critical. It is the most efficient energy and the best vector for decarbonization. Digital technology is critical. It enables us to see how energy is being used, making the invisible visible so that we can reduce the vast amount of waste.

Leading by example

This all sounds good in theory, let’s take a look at how Electricity 4.0 could be applied to industrial applications with a few real-life examples to demonstrate how we’re already building the New Electric World with our customers and partners.

Take the example of Veolia Water Technologies. A few years ago the company was  building a water treatment plant on the coast of Sorrento in Italy to help safeguard the environment and residents’ health. At the same time, it wanted to reduce CapEx and OpEx while ensuring service continuity, reliability, and regulatory compliance.

With EcoStruxure for Water & Wastewater solutions – including Plant Operations & Energy Management, EcoStruxure Hybrid DCS, MV & LV power meters, and Altivar Machine variable speed drives – Veolia managed to save up to 15% in energy and associated costs and improve production efficiency by 20%.

Here’s another example. Looking to build a new electrical substation at one of its plants, industrial giant BASF implemented EcoStruxure Asset Advisor for remote visibility into its operations. Now it has a consolidated view of over 100 variables to provide reliable condition monitoring and the expert support needed to respond to critical-asset upkeep.

And then there’s French automaker Renault Group, which chose the SM AirSet MV switchgear for its first circular economy factory in Europe. The device uses pure air for insulation instead of SF₆, a potent greenhouse gas, and its in-built connectivity enables remote monitoring. With solutions like these, the company hopes to achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral in Europe by 2040.

Start your path to net-zero with us

The aforementioned examples are among the many that we highlighted during our time at Hannover Messe 2022. Together with our customers, we’re building the New Electric World by providing smart energy everywhere in homes, buildings, data centers, industries, infrastructure, and grids. And we can help you:

  1. Strategize to build a decarbonization roadmap
  2. Digitize to monitor operations and identify saving opportunities
  3. Decarbonize by electrifying operations to reduce costs and energy consumption

None of that involves the distant future. It’s all happening today with the aim of building a net-zero future sooner rather than later.

If you’d like to learn more, we encourage you to watch the video below:

More blogs about Hannover Messe 2022 below:


* Source: SE calculations based on published data by Carbon Brief and IEA

**Source: IEA,

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