Improve the Climate And Also Improve Business Profits

Improve the Climate And Also Improve Business Profits

Let’s put aside politics and just talk good business strategies. I had a boss. He was quite conservative on the political scale. It was the time of “sustainability”. He thought that was only liberal, tree-hugger gibberish. I told him–think money. Less waste equals more profits. Waste is unsustainable.

Those of us who think Lean, think about how to reduce waste.

As usual, where politicians bicker, businesses do things to improve profits while also benefiting the environment.

This report came to me.

WORLD-LEADING MULTINATIONALS ACCELERATING A CLEAN ECONOMY – RE100 REPORT

  • RE100 total renewable electricity demand of over 159TWh/yr is now equivalent to the 24thlargest country electricity use – ranking between Poland and Egypt;
  • 25 companies had reached 100% renewable electricity by the end of 2016; five of these in 2016
  • With three new members announced today, RE100’s 122 members are increasing renewables capacity globally, with operations spanning 122 countries.

LONDON: A rapidly growing group of ambitious multinational businesses are actively reshaping the energy market through their global investment decisions and accelerating a zero emissions economy, a new report release today (Tuesday January 23) shows.

‘Approaching the tipping point: how corporate users are redefining global electricity markets’, a new report from RE100 – a global corporate leadership initiative led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP –  tracks progress made in 2016-17 by companies committed to 100% renewable power.

The report also provides insight into emerging trends in corporate sourcing of renewables around the world, with 122 RE100 members operating in 122 countries averaging 1.3 times more renewables in their electricity mix than the global rate of renewable electricity use.

Thanks to falling costs of renewable energy technology, there is a notable shift away from renewable energy attribute certificates towards direct contracts with suppliers, as well as onsite generation and offsite grid-connected generators (power purchase agreements, or PPAs) – meaning that increasingly, members are directly growing renewable energy capacity.

Specific findings in the report include:

  • 25 members had reached 100% renewable electricity by the end of 2016, with Autodesk, Elopak, Interface, Marks and Spencer and Sky reaching this goal during 2016, while Equinix and Kingspan surpassed their interim targets during the same year;
  • The biggest achievers in 2016 included Bank of America, Astra Zeneca and Coca Cola Enterprises Inc., whose share of renewable electricity increased more than threefold;
  • The proportion of renewable electricity being sourced via power purchase agreements grew fourfold in 2016, while the quantity of electricity sourced from onsite generation increased x15 (via supplier-owned projects) and x9 (via member-owned projects);
  • 88% of respondents cited the compelling economic case for renewable electricity as a major driver – with 30 out of 74 reporting that renewable electricity was either cost competitive or delivered significant savings on energy bills;
  • Policy barriers represent the most common challenge for RE100 companies, alongside a lack of availability of suitable contracts or certificates in some markets.

The report comes as government and business leaders gather at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss pathways to a sustainable economy, and a few days after Nike signed its second major wind contract, in Texas, US, that will take the company more than half way to reaching 100% renewable electricity globally as part of RE100.

Helen Clarkson, Chief Executive Officer, The Climate Group, said: “I’d like to congratulate every RE100 member accelerating the roll-out of renewable energy through their investment decisions. Their leadership is vital for overcoming policy challenges, shifting global markets, and inspiring many more companies to reap the economic benefits of renewable electricity. Rapidly growing demand from world-leading RE100 companies – and increasingly their suppliers and peers – means governments can confidently look to ratchet up targets in 2020 for slashing greenhouse emissions, to deliver on the Paris Agreement.”

Paul Simpson, Chief Executive Officer, CDP, said: “CDP data shows a jump in renewable energy procurement and that motivations are not only environmental but economic. With nearly 90% of companies driven by the economic case for renewables, this demonstrates a fast approaching tipping point in the transition to a zero-carbon economy.  These companies prove that energy is becoming a board level issue across the globe and sustainability is essential for future business security. Now, it’s time to tip the balance and make 100% renewable the new normal.”

Regional trends

The report also shows key findings by region:

  • In Europe, renewable energy has been the main source of electricity for RE100 members for the second year running. However, the lucrative PPA market is largely untapped; EU policy makers have an opportunity unlock its full potential through the next phase of the Renewable Energy Directive;
  • In the US, we have seen a major increase in the use of PPAs by RE100 members, with continued momentum on renewable electricity sourcing by major businesses, despite political uncertainty;
  • In India, the amount of renewable electricity consumed by our members has more than tripled, thanks to falling costs. The diversity of ways in which companies are sourcing renewables has also increased.

 

RE100 now brings together 122 global companies, with a collective revenue of over US$2.75 trillion and operations spanning six continents. Together they represent over 159TWh of demand for renewable electricity – more than enough to power Malaysia, New York State or Poland, and equivalent to the 24th largest electricity demand of all countries.

 

The Climate Group is an international non-profit organization, founded in 2004, with offices in London, Beijing New Delhi and New York. Our mission is to accelerate climate action. Our goal is a world of under 2C of global warming and greater prosperity for all, without delay. We do this by bringing together powerful networks of business and governments that shift global markets and policies. We act as a catalyst to take innovation and solutions to scale, using the power of communications to build ambition and pace. We focus on the greatest global opportunities for change. Our business campaigns RE100 (renewable electricity), EP100 (energy productivity) and EV100 (electric vehicles), brought to you as part of the We Mean Business coalition, help companies to reduce emissions, enhance resilience, and boost the bottom line. They champion leadership, encourage the sharing of best practice, and tackle barriers to action. Visit TheClimateGroup.org and follow us on Twitter @ClimateGroup and Facebook @TheClimateGroup.

Led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDPRE100 is a collaborative initiative uniting the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100% renewable power. Renewables are a smart business decision, providing greater control over energy costs and driving innovation, while helping companies to deliver on emission reduction goals. RE100 members, including Global Fortune 500 companies, have a total revenue of over US$2.75 trillion and operate in a diverse range of sectors – from Information Technology to automobile manufacturing. Together, they send a powerful signal to policymakers and investors to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy. Visit RE100.org and follow us on Twitter @theRE100 #RE100.

CDP is an international non-profit that drives companies and governments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard water resources and protect forests. Voted number one climate research provider by investors and working with institutional investors with assets of US$100 trillion, we leverage investor and buyer power to motivate companies to disclose and manage their environmental impacts. Over 6,300 companies with some 55% of global market capitalization disclosed environmental data through CDP in 2017. This is in addition to the over 500 cities and 100 states and regions who disclosed, making CDP’s platform one of the richest sources of information globally on how companies and governments are driving environmental change. CDP, formerly Carbon Disclosure Project, is a founding member of the We Mean Business Coalition. Please visit www.cdp.net or follow us @CDP to find out more.

IIC and NIST Present IIoT Energy Forum

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) has been busy over the past few months. I receive a steady stream of interesting news. This one concerns a joint Forum (which I cannot make) with  National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) presenting the IIoT Energy Forum on February 9 in McLean, Virginia.

This one-day forum hosted by the MITRE Corp. will focus on the impact of IIoT on the energy industry.

This public event will showcase industrial internet technologies and IIC and NIST activities in the energy sector. It will feature experts from both the IIC and NIST and shine a spotlight on smart grids, industrial analytics, cybersecurity and standards.

“The Global Event Series is a crucial part of IIC’s industry outreach program bringing industry stakeholders and end users together,” said Wael William Diab, Chair of the IIC Global Event Series and Senior Director at Huawei. “Many industries are turning to IIoT to monitor the efficiency of their assets and the energy and utility sector is no exception.”

“IIoT-enabled assets present new vectors of vulnerability across connected systems and distributed devices in the energy and utility industry,” said Bob Martin, Senior Principal Engineer, Trust & Assurance Cyber Technologies, The MITRE Corporation. “Trustworthy IIoT will have an impact not only on cost optimization but also on energy regulations, policy and standards.”

The agenda includes:

  • Guest speakers from The Department of Energy, MITRE and NIST who will discuss requirements, gaps and opportunities for leveraging the data that is building up within and around energy systems, and how to use that data to increase production and decrease costs.
  • A panel of testbed experts from Xilinx, Wipro Digital, NIST and InterDigital Communications, Inc. who will discuss emerging technologies and applications based on testbed examples, including smart grids.
  • Panels on Standards & Architecture and Security, moderated by IBM and Intel respectively, both with a focus on energy.

MITRE is a secure facility and pre-registration is required. Registration for non-US citizens closes on January 24 at 5pm EST and registration for US citizens closes January 31 at 5pm EST.

Here Is A Hint Why I Chose Technology Career Over Political Science

Here Is A Hint Why I Chose Technology Career Over Political Science

Is it any wonder about the wisdom of dropping my graduate work in political science while returning to manufacturing and technology?

Try these pieces of obfuscation this week from Washington.

The big tax cut and simplification bill turns out not to simplify anything. Manufacturing organizations sending information to me believe it offers financial rewards to companies who keep workers offshore. Many of us will see little or no tax cut. Do you ever wish like I do that people would mean what they say and say what they mean?

This from FACT. A letter to Congress persons.

On behalf of the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency Coalition (FACT) Coalition, we write to urge you to oppose H.R.1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). This bill would create significant new tax incentives to move U.S. jobs, profits, and operations overseas, while exploding the deficit. The bill’s complicated structure also creates multiple new loopholes to allow for expanded tax avoidance by large, multinational companies at the expense of small businesses and wholly domestic companies.

The FACT Coalition is a non-partisan alliance of more than 100 state, national, and international organizations working toward a fair tax system that addresses the challenges of a global economy and promoting policies to combat the harmful impacts of corrupt financial practices.[1]

The final conference bill would move the country to a territorial tax system. The primary goal of a territorial system is to permit offshore corporate profits to escape U.S. tax. Taxpayers already lose an estimated $100 billion every year to aggressive tax avoidance by multinational companies.[2] These changes would further incentivize corporate profit shifting abroad — leaving regular taxpayers to pick up the tab.[3]

This is an item from Sara Fischer writing in the Axios Media Trends Newsletter.

Why it matters: Multi-billion-dollar deals — along with regulatory changes such as the repeal of net neutrality rules — are often justified as ways to spur innovation and increase consumer choice, but consumer advocates argue the actions could actually make access to some popular content more expensive. The real question: Is choice at the expense of price really giving consumers what they want?

Those of us who have been around the block a few times know a couple of things. 1) Big companies don’t really innovate—they acquire smaller innovative companies to develop their portfolios. 2) Industry consolidation (mergers) occur during a period when innovation runs out of energy and companies are beginning to fail. What we’re waiting for is the new innovation area.

Climate, Environment, Business

As politicians debate political theory—most likely with an eye toward electoral votes—regarding environmental policy, businesses have long ago discovered that a sound environmental policy reduces costs and improves operations. Try this item from Axios Generate’s Ben Geman.

Coal and climate tussle: Mining giant BHP said Tuesday that it plans to abandon the World Coal Association, and may also leave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over differences on climate policy, including the Chamber’s opposition to pricing carbon and its attacks on the Paris climate deal. BHP’s newly published review of its membership in trade associations is here. Quick take, via the Financial Times: “The move reflects the growing importance of environmental, social and governance standards within multinationals, which want to protect their brands and insulate themselves from threats posed by activists and consumer boycotts.”

Just for fun.

Here’s one Fun Thing gleaned from the latest Axios newsletter.

Listening to Mozart is said to raise your IQ. Does playing his music make you a better employee? AP’s David McHugh answers from Frankfurt:

  • “Definitely so, say many global companies and their workers, above all in Germany and Asia, where accountants, engineers, sales reps and computer specialists bring violins, cellos, oboes and trombones and gather in their spare time to rehearse and perform lengthy, complex pieces of classical music.”
  • “A conspicuous number of big German corporate names — along with a handful in Japan and Korea — have their own company-linked symphony orchestra.”
  • Why it matters: “The orchestras serve as public relations tools, playing charity concerts and livening up corporate events. … [And] a symphony orchestra is an excellent model for the creative teamwork companies need to compete.”

Well, we have the people from Emerson Automation playing rock and roll at every Exchange these days. Time to pick up that guitar again.

Schneider Electric Software Boosts Asset Performance, New Pricing Model, and Cloud Offering

Schneider Electric Software Boosts Asset Performance, New Pricing Model, and Cloud Offering

Schneider Electric Software boosts Asset Performance, pricing model, and cloud offering. They called it a Schneider Electric Software Innovation Summit in San Antonio a couple of weeks ago. But as we know, that part of Schneider Electric is moving over to the new AVEVA which will be 60% owned by Schneider Electric. So, is this the last Schneider Electric Software summit, or will all the new company be absorbed at the conclusion of the buyout period?

I had committed to another conference by the time Schneider announced its software one, so I was not there. They did send news releases and I also talked with a friend who was there in order to gauge a little bit of what was happening. One other thing I find interesting. On the process automation side, they are clearly branding the legacy Foxboro name. On this side, not so much talk about Wonderware and Avantis. So I guess there is still some branding flux on the software side of the business.

Key takeaways: Schneider evidently saw a weakness in its asset performance management offering and has partnered with a European leader to add strength to it. Answering the challenge of a newer competitor regarding pricing for software, Schneider announced expansion of its subscription pricing model. The third larger announcement reflects the growing importance (and acceptance) of the Cloud for IT structure.

Short view of the news: 

  • Extends Enterprise APM Offering through New Partnership with MaxGrip: Schneider Electric has partnered with leader in Asset Performance Management (APM) software, MaxGrip, to deliver a more comprehensive asset lifecycle management offering. This expanded offering will include assessment services and risk-based maintenance capabilities, helping customers define and execute APM strategies for maximum return on assets.
  • Extends Subscription Access Across Industrial Software Portfolio: Schneider Electric has expanded its subscription license model, enabling customers to purchase software licenses a la carte, providing greater value, new benefits and access to more industrial software applications than ever before. Subscription Access is now available when purchasing Engineering, Planning, Operations and Asset Performance, as well as Control and Information software solutions.
  • Expands Cloud Platform with New Performance Module: Schneider Electric has announced the continued expansion of its Insight cloud platform, powered by Wonderware Online. The new Insight Performance Module provides Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) monitoring, asset utilization analysis and downtime tracking in the cloud to enable operational efficiency improvement while reducing total cost of ownership.
  • Enhances Manufacturing Operations Management Offering for Mining Industry: Schneider Electric announced enhancements to its Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) solution for the Mining industry. By introducing real-time production accounting and inventory management, the enhanced solution will improve decision support, planning and reporting capabilities for mining companies, enabling them to meet their digital transformation goals.
  • Powers Roy Hill’s Remote Operations Center to Drive Digital Strategy: Schneider Electric announced the success achieved at independent iron ore operation in Western Australia – Roy Hill. By implementing Schneider Electric’s Mining industry software solution, Roy Hill has been able to consolidate end-to-end operational visibility and optimize its mining value chain.
  • Drives Digital Transformation in Food & Beverage with New Industry Solutions: Schneider Electric announced three new solutions –  Energy Performance, Advanced Process Control and Label Assurance – all aimed at solving industry challenges from growing environmental and sustainability regulations, higher energy costs, consumer demands and product quality and safety standards. The solutions empower F&B manufacturers to simultaneously improve efficiency, quality and performance by delivering real-time visibility, control and intelligence across operations and functional areas.

APM Offering

Schneider Electric announced a new partnership with MaxGrip that will enable a more comprehensive asset lifecycle management offering that includes assessment services and risk-based maintenance capabilities. This expanded offering will be available as part of Schneider Electric’s Enterprise Asset Performance Management (APM) solution.

This solution delivers a comprehensive view of asset health as a first step of an asset reliability strategy that takes into account business context to benchmark current performance and identify areas for improvement. Expert consultants will address a number of key areas of evaluation such as HSE (health, safety and environment), cost control, resource allocation, use of OT/IT systems and asset utilization. These insights will be translated into a pragmatic action plan to optimize production and improve margins while ensuring regulatory compliance.

As a result of this partnership, Schneider Electric can offer enhanced APM capabilities that allow customers to better strategize and optimize maintenance execution according to asset criticality for optimal business results. Risk analysis, what if analysis and asset management strategic review can provide detailed insight into asset reliability and performance, facilitating long-term strategic planning. Users can optimize operations by eliminating reoccurring incidents with root cause analysis, inventory management and strategy simulations to identify hidden inefficiency and drive value across the enterprise. An extensive library of asset reliability data and templates allows up to 90% faster time to deployment.

Subscription Access Across Industrial Software Portfolio

An expansion of the company’s subscription license model – Subscription Access – includes greater value, new benefits and access to more industrial software applications. Customers choosing this offering can benefit from reduced upfront costs, ease of license fee management, access to exclusive products, bundled capabilities and a lower total cost of ownership. Subscription Access is now available when purchasing Engineering, Planning, Operations and Asset Performance, as well as Control and Information software solutions.

Expands Cloud Platform with New Performance Module

Continued expansion of its cloud platform, Insight, powered by Wonderware Online, with new Insight Performance module that provides Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) monitoring, asset utilization analysis and downtime tracking in the cloud.

This Software as a Service (SaaS) offering offers the following capabilities:

  1. Light-weight applications that are easier to install, configure and maintain
  2. Virtually no on-premise servers or hardware requirement

Enhances Manufacturing Operations Management Offering for Mining Industry

The company announced enhancements to its Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) solution for the Mining industry. This initiative can help optimize the mining supply chain, drive efficiency and maximize utilization of all operating assets, resulting in better profitability.

This data, when made available to domain-specific decision support tools and integrated with supply chain and enterprise resource planning systems, unlocks new levels of intelligence to drive continuous improvement. Eliminating manually entered production values while breaking down pervasive operational data silos can minimize time, errors and costs associated with manual and duplicate data-entry, further enhancing agility and efficiency.

Select improvements of Schneider Electric Software’s MOM solution for the Mining industry include:

  • User selectable point in time feature for ‘Inventory data reprocessing’
  • Data reprocessing has improved performance by 4X
  • New “Calculated Inventory” feature to define custom calculations on captured inventory data
  • Ampla Planner, Gantt Chart usability and user experience enhancements
  • Client response times has improved performance by 2X
  • Wonderware Online InSight connectivity

Powers Roy Hill’s Remote Operations Center

The company announced the success achieved at Roy Hill, an independent iron ore operation in Western Australia. Roy Hill implemented a Schneider Electric Mining industry software solution to consolidate end-to-end operational visibility and optimize their mining value chain.

Roy Hill built a greenfield iron ore mine and mine process plant in the Pilbara region, a heavy haul railway system from mine-to-port, new port facilities in Port Hedland, and a Remote Operations Center (ROC) in Perth. Each of these infrastructure components were designed to meet its capacity of 55 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of iron ore.

Most leading mining companies have historically evolved with organizational silos, usually between mines, processing facilities and logistics. In the age of increasing automation, data, and digitalization, these silos often prevent end-to-end visibility and optimization opportunities to realize resource to market potential. Through its efforts, as no small accomplishment, Roy Hill has been able to avoid these pitfalls with the help of its ecosystem partners, including Schneider Electric.

Roy Hill implemented Schneider Electric’s industrial software offering tailored for the mining industry, which included the following specific solutions:

  • Demand Chain Planning and Scheduling (DCPS)
  • Inventory Tracking and Quality Management (ITQM)
  • Delay Accounting (DA)
  • Capacity Simulation Model (Pre-CAPEX Analysis)

Drives Digital Transformation in Food & Beverage

Three new Food and Beverage manufacturing solutions were announced as part of the company’s ongoing effort to drive operational excellence, efficiency and performance while enabling regulatory and food safety compliance.

Food and Beverage and Consumer Packaged Goods manufacturers face a number of challenges, which are potentially impacting profitability. Growing environmental and sustainability related regulations are resulting in higher energy costs. Product yields must continually be improved to meet an increasingly diverse set of consumer demands. Each of these industry challenges must be addressed while maintaining product quality and safety standards to avoid product recalls and ensure continued consumer trust and confidence.

Three new industry solutions from Schneider Electric can help manufacturers to address these challenges:

  • Energy Performance – provides improved visibility into energy usage, enabling opportunities to reduce consumption and costs
  • Advanced Process Control (APC) – allows manufacturers to improve yield and product quality by minimizing unpredictable variations in the drying process
  • Label Assurance – ensures compliance through 100% label inspection checks; reduces recalls

These solutions empower Food and Beverage manufacturers to simultaneously improve efficiency, quality and performance by delivering real-time visibility, control and intelligence across all operations and functional areas.

Schneider Electric Launches Next Generation IoT Architecture and Platform

Schneider Electric Launches Next Generation IoT Architecture and Platform

Schneider Electric announced launch of what CTO Prith Banerjee called a major advance for its Internet of Things (IoT) architecture and strategy. I’ve had a bit of a problem wrapping my head around the announcement. That is because this is not a product announcement. It’s more of a strategy announcement.

At the end of Banerjee’s 45-minute presentation, he began talking about putting the elements together with APIs (application program interfaces) that describe how the components work together.

The platform describes five application areas and four vertical industries. These are safety, reliability, efficiency, sustainability, and connectivity applications, and building, grid, industry, and data center markets.

Prominent were  partners Microsoft and Intel along with many others noted briefly. The platform is build atop Microsoft Azure—not surprising since Microsoft seems to have captured the manufacturing/industrial market. The intel part os for its FPGA technology used in smart devices.

“EcoStruxure combines our history in pioneering in automation, energy management and deep domain expertise with data-driven metrics and analytics to help us maximize the value of the Internet of Things for our customers,” said Dr. Prith Banerjee, Chief Technology Officer, Schneider Electric. “EcoStruxure gives our customers the platform, architecture and roadmap to quickly and easily implement IoT in an enterprise, extending the benefits of IoT beyond the device layer to create a more intelligent, efficient and secure operation.”

The first layer builds on Schneider Electric’s core competency in developing connected products with embedded intelligence, such as sensors, medium and low voltage breakers, drives and actuators.

The Edge Control layer gives organizations the critical capability to manage their operations on-premise as well as from the cloud depending on their needs. This includes connected control platforms with remote access, advanced automation and operator override capabilities. Local control and firewall protection is included to maximize the benefits especially for mission-critical applications.

Schneider Electric’s focused investment in R&D and product development in the critical areas of software, analytics and services, coupled with the integration of recent acquisitions such as Invensys, Telvent and Summit Energy forms the third layer of the stack – a portfolio of apps, analytics and services. EcoStruxure enables the most extensive breadth of vendor-agnostic apps, analytics and services on open IP protocols in order to work with any hardware, system, or control.

The last “layer” includes a set of core reference architectures. The architectures build on the company’s deep domain expertise and portfolio and are tested, validated and tailored for its core end markets of Buildings, Grid, Industry and Data Centers, with even more specific architectures also available for industrial plants, industrial machines, and power distribution. The architectures give customers access to documented and standardized system reference designs that can be used in the implementation of interoperable, sustainable, efficient and connected systems.

These announcements follow the trends described here and by most analysts. The Industrial Internet of Things builds up from smart devices (things) connected (Internet) to each other and to various gateways, databases, the cloud, with analytics performed at various stops along the way and finally displayed as actionable information on some sort of desktop or mobile device. Common with the industry at large, Schneider Electric builds upon Microsoft Azure.

The omissions I found striking were mention of EtherNet/IP (Schneider is an ODVA member) and OPC UA—two connectivity technologies. Probably doesn’t mean anything, but noticeable by absence.

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