With global presence in over 100 countries, Schneider Electric is a leader in power management (medium voltage, low voltage and secure power) as well as automation systems. The company provides integrated efficiency solutions combining energy, automation and software.
Digital transformation has been at the core of your work. How do you see this trend unfolding in Romania in the coming few years?
Our bet is that the future is electric. The main challenges will be to have agile networks, so I think investments will have to consider focusing more and more on digital solutions.
We are already implementing digital solutions on the Romanian market – ADMS distribution management systems, which are developed in our research and development center in Serbia. These systems have advanced monitoring, control, analysis and planning functions for greater efficiency. Proven already in many regions, they have been implemented over the globe.
Can you expand on how IoT and other modern technologies can improve the way in which energy companies conduct their business?
As far as we can see, the energy paradigm is changing under the action of four major factors. Firstly, decentralization is increasing and so is the use of solar energy. According to New Energy Outlook (Bloomberg New Energy Finance, 2016) 50% of new energy and storage capacity will come from solar by 2030. Further to this, decarbonization is becoming a priority and the pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will increase the number of green buildings worldwide. The electricity consumption is expected to increase about 2% per year and decentralization, decarbonization and digitization will help better manage the rising energy demand. Given these circumstances we need smarter tools, systems and infrastructures to ensure electrical components can be easily implemented, work optimal, that they are safe for people and comply with regulations.
For instance, we helped upgrade the Enel network in Italy - a provider of approximately 32 million customers across the country - with ADMS. Following this process, Enel managed to have a better visibility over the grid, to integrate renewable resources, leverage the benefits of green energy and, overall, improve the power quality. Moreover, losses were reduced by around 144 GWh per year, which is the equivalent of the energy consumed by approximately 50,000 Italian households, according to Enel Italy.
How does Romania compare to other countries in the region when it comes to adoption of new technologies?
A recent EU report (Digital Economy and Society Index, 2019) showed that Romania’s performance related to the digitization of economy is lagging behind significantly. Romania ranks 27th of 28 countries in DESI and has the lowest performance among EU member countries in terms of digital public services.
In the private sector, we find solutions for digitization which are being implemented punctually in various fields of activity but more support from the government is needed for these results to become more substantial. There are, however, some noteworthy efforts in terms of smart city infrastructure if we consider cities like Alba-Iulia, Cluj-Napoca or Oradea.
What are the key challenges that you have come across in the Romanian business and legislative environment?
Over the years, the Romanian business environment faced a number of challenges, primarily the fact that the fiscal and regulatory framework is not predictable enough, suffering from frequent and sometimes contradictory changes. A change in Government is bound to be followed by modifications in the regulatory framework, and this is detrimental to both companies that are already present in the market and new potential investors. Obsolete or lacking infrastructure is another problem to be solved. Last but not least, the lack of workforce is a challenge and can become a critical issue in the coming years if it is not addressed by authorities. The private sector has already taken measures like initiating scholarships, internship partnerships with relevant universities or relocation of employees, but the state has a part to play in the process as well.
To solve these issues there is a need to establish a set of country priorities to be complied with, regardless of the political color. The energy field can be a strategic priority - for example, investing in network modernization and expanding renewable grids can bring exceptional benefits, both medium and long term.
Do you have a final message for investors who are eyeing the Romanian market?
Romania has a potential worth investing in. Together, we can fight climate changes and create a more energy-efficient and overall a healthier world. It is the greatest challenge and responsibility of our generation in Romania as well as worldwide, and I feel positive about it.
- Share on: