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Why electrical distribution needs stronger partnerships

Stewart Gregory

Stewart Gregory

VP Power Products at Schneider Electric UK&I
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Working Together Climate Change

To solve a global challenge like climate change, companies are going to have to learn to work together, as Stewart Gregory, VP of Power Products at Schneider Electric UK & Ireland, explains. 

Climate change is the biggest threat we face. Corporations and governments have responded to worrying reports by scientists, setting targets to limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5°C instead of 3.5°C. The scale of the issue however is global, and even though individual efforts and targets are needed to help us move in the right direction, they’re only a start. We must change how we operate globally if we want any fighting chance against environmental disasters.

When we consider a global transition to renewable energies, it’s imperative to think about partnerships. A collaborative approach to climate change allows for not only an exchange of valuable information which could be used across other industries, but also sharing insights, solutions and tools that can best be used for specific sectors that need an adapted approach. 

With our energy needs on the rise, we must turn to our current electrical distribution sector and understand the best way to move forward. Power outages and rising energy prices are a few of the challenges we currently face. Resilience, sustainability, and efficiency should be key indicators of our current energy distribution system’s quality. How can we translate potential partnerships into successful collaborations and revolutionise the way we power businesses?

Innovative partnerships

Alliances can pave the way to a greener future through innovative technological advancements in the electrical distribution sector. Partnerships allow us to better understand how to overcome certain issues that might have existed before in a different sector. Creating an ecosystem of partners fosters cooperation across industries, which ultimately nurtures innovation on the scale necessary to truly tackle climate change. Big problems demand big solutions. If we can accelerate the process between implementing a solution and assessing its efficiency, we should exploit the resources needed for it.

Sharing insights can also increase awareness in the industry. A recent study conducted by IDC on behalf of Schneider Electric found that in 2018, only 26% of our channel partners found collaborations necessary, a stark contrast to the 64% in 2020, a tremendous increase in just two years. Companies are recognising partnerships as a key asset to a sustainable future, with the numbers growing. Looking at this from a smaller scale, a team is only as good as its weakest player. If the goal of our team – the world – is to be carbon free by 2050, banding together is the best course of action to produce results.

Smarter also means more complex

As we develop our electricity distribution solutions, the need for reliable equipment increases. Business operations become more digital and complex in nature, so the power distribution demands more resilience. An unreliable energy supply can lead to unplanned downtime and electrical safety issues. Interruptions in operations are time consuming and costly to businesses. One of the best examples are the costs associated with power outages in data centres, with the Uptime Institute finding that nearly one in six operators who reported outages had to cover costs of more than $1 million per outage.

With increasingly intricate systems to supply uninterrupted power, sustainability must be at the forefront of our decision-making process. Digital and sustainable solutions should be explored and trialled. As we transition to renewable energies and infrastructures, diffusing knowledge across industries might just be the ultimate asset we can harness to truly revolutionise the way we operate globally.

Solve shared problems together

An important step in problem solving is proactively avoiding issues before they happen and mitigating them when they do. Creating partnerships allows us to prioritise safety and implement robust solutions that are less vulnerable to disruptions and potential business losses. Collaborations should also transcend their own sector. Different industries can communicate and report problems in the past and solutions that solved them, which could then be applied to other industries in the future. By sharing experiences, we reduce costs that we might incur, as well as a faster approach to problem-solving, which can ultimately amount to great cost saving benefits.

Reliable electrical distribution is paramount for businesses to operate at peak level. Our energy demands continue growing. Our responses to the growth must also evolve and answer the demands of the sector. The future is unpredictable but creating a network of agile partners and a set of innovative solutions improve the resilience of our electrical distribution systems, with operational and sustainable benefits. As the world continues to evolve, we must also look at improving the way we run operations and supply energy, always with sustainability at the forefront of any decisions we make.

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