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Interviews

Indian renewable sector is the fourth most attractive sector in the world: Schneider Electric

Indian renewable sector is the fourth most attractive sector in the world: Schneider Electric

Meenu Singhal, Vice President, Industry Business, Schneider Electric

India’s power sector achieved many milestones in the year 2018. It achieved 100 per cent of village electrification. It also emerged as a net exporter of electricity, with 7203 MU supplied to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar in FY 2017-18. On the corporate front too, the sector witnessed path-breaking developments. One such was the buyout of L&T E&A division by Schneider Electric. The company also brought in many innovations into the segment. Team RealtyMyths interacted with Mr Meenu Singhal, Vice President, Industry Business, Schneider Electric to understand company’s outlook and the way forward plans for the upcoming years. Here are the excerpts of the interaction.

From India’s perspective, the year 2018 was indeed very exciting for you as you could complete the successful buyout of L&T E&A division. You also launched some of the AI based services for the dairy sector. Can you throw some light on the key developments that took place this year?

Schneider Electric is the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation with innovation at the core of the company’s philosophy. 2018 has been an exceptional year for Schneider Electric as for the very first time in India, Innovation Summit was organized to highlight the importance of utilizing innovation for ‘Powering the digital economy’ through digital adoption in order to become smart and sustainable. This year, Schneider Electric also helped in the development of the first greenfield integrated smart city of Naya Raipur, now known as Atal Nagar,  where the company executed an entire gamut of integrated Command & Control Center and its overall integration covering transportation, surveillance, citizen applications, end-to-end Smart Grid solutions, end-to-end Water Management system and integrated Building Management System. Moreover, Schneider Electric inaugurated the first of its kind retail experience zone, ‘Xperience Point’ in Gurugram to provide the touch and feel of the products offered by the company.

Besides this, Schneider Electric also concluded successful implementation of its Aavin Dairy project with technology that can further boost its performance in the Indian dairy industry. Aavin recently implemented a smart manufacturing unit through Schneider Electric’s IoT enabled architecture- EcoStruxure for Food and Beverage to improve on the accuracy in milk processing and uniformity in the end product quality and our plant’s operational efficiency, flexibility and scalability.

What is the way forward now? What makes India one of your key focused markets?

To surpass EU levels of production and become the largest dairy producer by 2020, India needs strong business models and robust scalability in this industry. The change in consumer habits and the marketplace is increasingly shaping the demands in the F&B segment and manufacturers are faced with the challenges of producing competitive, profitable, safe and desirable products. Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure aims at addressing these by powering the F&B including the dairy industry with advanced digital technologies that ensure transparency, security, regulatory compliance and reliability

With optimistic developments at our business end this year India is going to be the fourth largest market in global automation and energy management for Schneider Electric as the company is looking forward to its boost operations in the country. By 2019-20, the company plans to make India its third largest investment destination globally, focusing on automation with the aim to provide energy and digital solutions to its customers. What makes India as one of the key focus markets for the company is inflation of energy consumption which is the centre of gravity for urbanization, industrialization and digitization in the country.

 Some of the recent reports suggest that investment in India’s renewable energy has gone down in the last few months. What, in your opinion, is the factor behind this trend? What are Schneider Electric’s plans in the renewable energies segment in the year 2019?

The Indian renewable sector is the fourth most attractive sector in the world with a total installed capacity of 116 GW. Renewable energy comprises about a fifth of India’s total installed power capacity. Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has set the target to set up renewable energy capacities of 227 GW by 2022. India will need investments of around US$ 125 billion to reach this target. Hence, mobilizing investments by institutional investors, foreign and domestic, is a requisite. The Indian renewable energy sector has moved from an early stage investment opportunity, characterized by high risk and high growth, towards one with low-medium risk and medium-to-high growth.

The Government of India is committed to increased use of clean energy and is undertaking various large-scale sustainable power projects and promoting renewable energy heavily. For that, The Government of India has undertaken a number of policy measures for increasing share of renewable energy in India’s energy mix. These include: Provision of Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) under the National Tariff Policy; Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects; Making rooftop solar as a part of housing loan provided by banks; Waiver of Inter-State Transmission Charges and losses;  Repowering of Wind Power Projects for optimal utilization of wind resources; Financial incentives for off-grid and decentralized renewable energy systems and devices for meeting daily energy needs and permitting 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment in sector through automatic route

The target of 227 GW by 2022 is visionary and at Schneider Electric we consider this a good opportunity. With solar tariffs plunging to historic lows, India has become a hotbed of the next solar revolution. This is expected to see an increase in the number of projects, both for the industry as well as for Schneider Electric

Your latest IoT-enabled addition in the product line EcoStruxure has also started showing favourable results in the market. How big is the market size for these kinds of products in India? Going forward, do you plan to tap other sectors as well than just the dairy?

Schneider Electric’s IoT enabled architecture- EcoStruxure has been deployed in Homes, Buildings, Data Centres, Infrastructure and Industries besides the dairy sector. It is noteworthy to mention that the results have been phenomenal as EcoStruxure’s innovation at every level from Connected Products to Edge Control, and Apps, Analytics and Services has been instrumental in enhancing operational efficiencies of our customers across industries.

Automation is becoming an important part of all Indian industrial sectors on account of the rising efforts to make manufacturing processes more efficient, achieve zero defects and meet global quality standards. India, therefore, has huge potential and we will be further strengthening our presence here to offer solutions to industries across sectors.

As the general elections are scheduled to happen in next year, the year 2019 appears to be very crucial as any change in the government might cause changes in policies as well. Keeping this in mind, what are Schneider Electric’s expansion plans for the next year?

Schneider Electric remains focused on keeping Life on all the time and everywhere and also making energy accessible to all, we believe that that’s a basic human right. I work continues irrespective of changes in the ecosystem, given that our work is vital to a country’s development concerns.

 

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