SE Innovation Summit: Electrification, Digitization & Sustainability are Tips of the Spear aimed at Decarbonization

Oct. 12, 2022
In addition to Schneider Electric experts, the Innovation Summit speakers include executives from Wood Plc., ExxonMobil, SunPower, EnergySage, UL, AVEVA, Smart Electric Power Association, General Motors, Ericsson and more

LAS VEGAS—The icebergs are melting everywhere and have been for decades due to climate change. They are a symbol of regret but also steely motivation for the race to decarbonization.

Schneider Electric CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire used the image to stress the urgency of the mission.

“The current energy crisis is only the tip of the iceberg,” Tricoire said during his keynote address at the opening of the company’s Innovation Summit event at the Resorts World in Las Vegas. “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.”

Schneider Electric and its products are already covering all of those fronts, but the Innovation Summit happening through Thursday isn’t purely focused on the company's efforts. The speakers featured include executives from Wood Plc., ExxonMobil, SunPower, EnergySage, UL, AVEVA, Smart Electric Power Association, General Motors, Ericsson and more. (EnergyTech is at the Innovation Summit and will be reporting on subsequent sessions there).

In addition to highlighting future fronts on decarbonization in the C&I energy sector, Schneider Electric also announced a $46 million investment to modernize its manufacturing plants in Kentucky and Nebraska to increase circuit breaker and related equipment for customers in the U.S. and Canada. Last year, Schneider committed $100 million of investment in elevating its manufacturing capability in North America.

"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 electric-first future," said Aamir Paul, President, Schneider Electric North America, in his part of the dual keynote at the Innovation Summit. "In today's competitive business environment, creating a more sustainable world involves going all-in on digitization, and the time to act on this movement is now."

Sessions on Thursday included a roundtable on the future impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Act to strengthen carbon reduction efforts in the U.S.

On the building and factory energy efficiency front, Schneider also announced enhancements to the company’s EcoStruxure Energy Hub software-as-a-service technology to simplify energy management and analysis for intelligent buildings and facilities.

On Thursday during a meeting with the trade press, several Schneider leaders highlighted the once and future impact of the Biden Administration's successful passage of the Inflation Reduction Act to spur investment in clean energy technologies. It's not a future promise but already beginning, Kevin Self, senior vice president for strategy, business development and government relations at Schneider, told the trade journalists. 

"Some $10 billion already is hitting in 2022," Self said.

For those homes and businesses considering taking advantage of the incentives from the IRA on the micro level, Schneider's SVP of home and distribution, Michael Mahan, stressed that a commitment to digitization was key. Knowledge is power, in other words.

"The first step is to understand your energy use," Mahan said. "Start to understand your carbon footprint."