Interviews, Renewable Energies

Schneider Electric: global specialist in energy management

11 de January de 2024

Schneider Electric advocates the use of smart and sustainable energy. Is the sector in Spain ready to make the leap to Electricity 4.0?

In Spain, industry represents 15.3% of GDP and employs two million people, but at the same time, it consumes more energy than any other sector: 149 million terajoules globally, so the decarbonisation and transformation of the sector is a necessity, an imperative.

Electricity 4.0 is the convergence of electric and digital and can make the electricity system more sustainable and smarter. Electricity has been shown to be three to five times more efficient than other energy sources. In fact, it is the most efficient type of energy and also the best vector for decarbonisation.strong In industry, electrification can be a game changer, thanks to the transformation of this heat production. Las tecnologías actuales podrían electrificar hasta el 78% del calor de la industria. That said, Spain is in a privileged position to make this leap due to the growth and availability of renewable energy sources and because it has specific policies to promote energy efficiency and sustainability.

“Electricity is the most efficient energy and also the best vector for decarbonisation”.

At Mindtech, he said that industry must rethink its relationship with energy to make it more sustainable – are we not doing our homework properly?

We all really need to rethink our relationship with energy to make it sustainable and smart.

Being sustainable means being more electric and being smart means being more digital. In the short term, the combination of digital technologies and software could bring up to 30% energy savings in industry, according to the International Energy Agency, and in most cases with payback periods of less than two years. Given these savings and ROI figures, I really believe that the main challenge in Spain is resistance to change. That is why we must work on changing our mentality and our relationship with energy.

“The climate and energy crisis must be tackled in a sustainable and forward-looking manner. Short-term measures are not enough”.

They are leaders in digital transformation of energy management and automation. What are the new trends in this field?

The current moment is marked by Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Digital Revolution, driven by innovative technologies that have profound effects on both production systems and business models.

Industry 4.0 adds disruptive technologies and methods such as Big Data, Advanced Analytics, Cloud Computing or IoT; it seeks the methodological and technological transformation of the production model. By interconnecting machines, production systems and equipment, companies can create intelligent networks along the entire value chain, and thus control and command production processes independently. As a result, processes are more efficient, energy consumption can be reduced and waste minimised with highly customised and tailored products. Factories will be increasingly automated, with systems connected to each other.

What challenges will industry face in the coming years in terms of energy transition?

It is a complex time at the geopolitical, economic and environmental levels. On the one hand, energy prices have highlighted the importance of becoming more autonomous so that our companies do not lose competitiveness.

On the other, the climate crisis remains more pressing than ever. The cost of inaction has proved too high. Our vision is that the solution to the climate and energy crisis must not only be aligned, but must be approached as a whole.. Undoubtedly, it must be approached in a sustainable and forward-looking manner. Short-term measures are not valid. The solution lies in a new energy model based on four pillars: more electrification, more renewables, more energy efficiency and more flexibility in demand.

“The combination of digital technologies and software could bring up to 30% energy savings in industry”.

Which countries are doing well in the electrification of their industrial processes?

Countries such as Germany, the Nordic countries and China have joined these trends and are investing in infrastructure and technology to boost energy efficiency and sustainability in their industrial processes. However, the energy transition is a global effort, and each country has its role to play in reducing emissions and promoting sustainability.

What is your assessment of your participation in Mindtech?

Very positively. It was an ideal space to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the digital transformation of energy and industry, and we had the opportunity to share knowledge and experiences with leading professionals and companies in the sector. I hope that our participation has contributed to the dialogue on energy transition and Industry 4.0. We, for our part, certainly remain fully committed to this path towards a more sustainable and energy-efficient industry.