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Opinion

Electricity 4.0: a sustainable, resilient and efficient future | Podcast

Transforming how we consume energy

We’re facing a triple crisis: energy security, a fragile global economy, and a rapidly changing climate. We’re at a pivotal moment where sustainable commitments can become a reality, now that technology has aligned with intention. We’ve seen extreme weather across the globe in the past few months, and it’s only going to increase in frequency. Mitigating these risks, strengthening the grid and reducing emissions to limit the warming are all vital.

On the Interchange Recharged today, David Banmiller is joined by Bala Vinayagam, Senior Vice President of Microgrids at Schneider Electric, and Jana Gerber, North American Microgrid President, also at Schneider.

Electricity 4.0 is the foundation of a digitized, modern and electrified world. It’s a principle that transforms how we source, transmit and consume energy. Bala and Jana explain to David the importance of Electricity 4.0, and the ways it uses existing technology to implement ever-evolving solutions to climate change. Electricity 4.0 focuses on four key pillars, detailed in today’s show.

Decarbonization

Centering on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating a decarbonized economy, strategies for this include electrifying more sectors of the economy and employing renewable energy sources to generate electricity.

Digitization

The second aspect, digitization, revolves around the deployment of digital technologies to better monitor energy usage. The goal is to leverage data collected through artificial intelligence, big data, and the Internet of Things to improve the efficiency and resilience of existing infrastructure. The untapped efficiency of the current infrastructure can be harnessed through comprehensive digitization, offering potentially transformative benefits.

Decentralization

Electricity 4.0 emphasizes decentralization. Currently, the electrical infrastructure relies heavily on bulk generation and large transmission infrastructure. Decentralization ensures more distributed generation and storage behind the meter, which simultaneously improves the resilience of the grid and generates a greener infrastructure.

Democratization

This is all about empowering consumers to play a more active role in the energy system itself. The aim is for consumers to participate through demand response programs, energy efficiency measures, and deploying distributed generation and green infrastructure behind the meter. This concept transforms energy consumers into "prosumers", actively participating in energy production alongside consumption. Jana explores the concept of a prosumer – it’s a term David has heard thrown about a lot in recent weeks.

The future of sustainability depends on electrifying and digitizing our energy grid. Through digital twin interfaces, online exchanges and marketplaces, Schneider is constantly innovating to empower all to make the most of our energy and resources.

Learn more about Schneider Electric, Electricity 4.0 and microgrids here 

More from the Interchange Recharged

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