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.

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.

Power Grid Storage Standards

Power Grid Storage Standards

MESA Power Grid Storage StandardsNew power generation technologies will only optimize when high capacity storage becomes reality. You never know when or where you might learn about advances.

Consider this example of always remaining open toward gaining new knowledge and contacts. My wife and I were at breakfast in a Napa Valley Bed and Breakfast on vacation last September. We began a conversation with another couple about our age regarding which winery tours might be best.

The man asked me what I did. “Write about industrial technology and applications.” You might be interested in this, he replied. Turns out he was an electrical power utility general manager and had become involved with a standards initiative–MESA. No, not the MESA (MES Association) that I’m involved with. This one develops standards for connecting to energy storage. This area holds immense importance for the future of the power grid.

Storage Standards Association

So he shared some contact information and connected me with the association. I’ve  talked with people there and am sharing some information from the Website to introduce this important initiative. Expect more in the future.

(All of this information comes from the Website.)

Why MESA?

Grid-connected energy storage promises large potential benefits. And yet, before  safe, affordable energy storage can deliver on its promise, electric utility customers and their suppliers must solve significant problems. Many of these problems boil down to lack of standardization.

Standards are required for any technology to be deployed at scale. The personal computer industry grew from few to millions of units per year, while dramatically improving price-performance, based on standards for its software and hardware components. Like other industries, the energy storage industry needs to organize for scale, based on a cohesive industry vision and technology standards.

MESA Standards clear barriers to growth in energy storage. By making standard connections between components possible, MESA frees utilities and vendors to focus on delivering more cost-effective electricity to more people.

Today’s Problem

Current utility-grade energy storage systems (ESS) are project-specific, one-off solutions, built using proprietary components that are not modular or interoperable. Connecting these proprietary systems with key utility control software such as SCADA platforms is cumbersome and time-consuming.

Before an ESS can function, the batteries, power converters, and software that make up the ESS must be intelligently “plugged into” each other and the electrical system. Then the ESS as a whole must be intelligently plugged into the utility’s existing information and operations technology. Without established standards, components and systems offer their own proprietary connectors, and the process of plugging them together must be repeated for each new project.

Time, Money, Safety

Connecting the proprietary pieces can result in a motley collection of custom interfaces, or “kludges,” designed to address vendor-specific hardware. Creating such systems is a complex process that comes with its own heavy baggage:

  • High project costs, and decreased reliability and safety.
  • Component vendors tempted to stretch their expertise and offer a complete ESS solution, losing focus on their own core competency. Instead of developing innovative, best-of-breed components—such as a better, cheaper battery—these vendors simply re-invent yet another proprietary wheel.
  • One-off, proprietary solutions that are inflexible, not easily scaled, and have limited operational control. The utility customer becomes dependent on a single ESS supplier, with few options to upgrade, expand or re-purpose their energy storage investment.

Despite willing buyers (electric utilities) and willing sellers (battery, power converter, and software suppliers), market growth is limited. Significant opportunities – for example, the potential for broad deployment of standardized ESS configurations at many utility substations – are beyond the industry’s reach in its current form.

To fully enable broad deployment of grid-connected storage, and grow the market for all, standards are required to address these limitations.

The MESA Solution

Modular Energy Storage Architecture (MESA) is an open, non-proprietary set of specifications and standards developed by an industry consortium of electric utilities and technology suppliers. Through standardization, MESA accelerates interoperability, scalability, safety, quality, availability, and affordability in energy storage components and systems.

Key MESA Goals:

  • Standardize communications and connections, which will accelerate interoperability and scalability.
  • Give electric utilities more choice by enabling multi-vendor, component-based ESS.
  • Reduce project-specific engineering costs, enabling a more robust energy storage market.
  • Enable technology suppliers to focus on their core competency, facilitating quality, safety, and cost-effectiveness.
  • Reduce training costs and improve safety for field staff through standardized procedures for safety and efficiency.
Improve the Climate And Also Improve Business Profits

Cisco’s Digital Solutions and IoT-specific Security Portfolio

Cisco held a Global Editors’ Conference during which I was traveling and could not attend. However, here is news gleaned from the press releases and other sources.

Cisco has been building partnerships in the industrial and manufacturing space for quite some time. Emerson partnered as part of its wireless solutions. Rockwell Automation has become a valued partner even reselling Cisco switches and routers in industrially hardened configurations.

Rockwell has also partnered with Fanuc, the robot and CNC supplier. The primary reason for the partnership I would guess would be that each helps the other penetrate more deeply into some large accounts such as GM. However, the Fanuc on the technology front has developed EtherNet/IP connectivity for its products. This enables them to share data on a standard Ethernet network.

Connectivity between Rockwell and Fanuc products along a Cisco Ethernet platform becomes interesting. Indeed, note the announcement below where Fanuc is now partnering directly with Cisco.

Cisco postulates that forty percent of today’s leading companies will be displaced from their market position by digital disruption in the next five years, yet 75 percent of these companies have yet to address this risk by prioritizing their digital strategy, according to research conducted by the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation.

To help customers navigate this important transition. Cisco is introducing four new digital solutions for industries – manufacturing, transportation, utilities, and oil and gas. The solutions aim to help customers connect machines and assets, break through information silos, and digitize data in an integrated way across the business.

Additionally, Cisco is announcing a new, industrial Internet of Things (IoT) security solution. Customers will use the Cisco IoT System Security and professional services from Cisco and partners to mitigate the risk of system disruption – and efficiently assure compliance.

Removing Barriers to Efficiency

To remain competitive, industries like manufacturing, utilities, oil and gas, and transportation need to increase productivity, deliver more value, and create better experiences for customers and end users. Some of the greatest obstacles to efficiency are operational silos. Silos separate people, machines, systems, information, and complete areas of a business; they separate information from operational technology. Breaking through silos with a more holistic and connected architecture connects people, streamlines communication and drives a more agile operation.

Four New Digital Solutions:

  • Connected Machines for Digital Manufacturing: A connected architecture that redefines secure, efficient, and visible operations. This solution enables rapid, standards-based, repeatable machine connectivity, and global factory integration while enabling OEM digitization and new business models – including highly secure remote access, monitoring and serviceability of machines. FANUC America and Cisco announced that they intend to implement the solution to enable robot connectivity and analytics for proactive maintenance. At an event in San Jose, high-tech manufacturer Flex outlined how it is already using the Connected Machines solution and FANUC Robots to drive efficiency and quality in its operations. Cisco is also today announcing a series of attractively priced solution bundles to simplify and accelerate infrastructure digitization for customers for the Factory Network, Factory Wireless and Factory Security.
  • Smart Connected Pipeline for Digital Oil and Gas: A connected, highly secure architecture that allows oil and gas companies more control over their pipelines, helping to protect assets from accidents or cyber-attacks. Operations are safer, more efficient – and more secure. Schneider Electric and Cisco are collaborating to bring the Smart Connected Pipeline solution to market, and are already working with customers such as Italian multinational oil and gas company, ENI.
  • Substation Security for Digital Utilities: A connected and timely architecture that enables highly-secure power grids for reliable, more efficient service across the utilities industry. Now, more than ever, the nation’s power grid needs additional layers of safety and security. Utility companies in North America must comply with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection (NERC/CIP) Version 5 mandated standards. South Carolina utility SCANA will be the first to deploy Cisco’s Substation Security Solution – a solution designed to enable utilities to comply with these regulations.
  • Connected Mass Transit for Digital Transportation: A connected architecture that will enable the delivery of greater safety, mobility – and a better passenger experience. Through a converged network architecture that is based on the Cisco IoT System, transit systems can enhance automation, collaboration, video, cloud-to-fog agility and business intelligence. From the management control center to the transit station – onto the roads, the rails, and onboard mass transit vehicles themselves – the Cisco solution puts safety and security first. Situated on the River Danube, the Austrian City of Linz is implementing the solution to streamline operations across its tram network.
  • IoT System Security: The IoT System Security product-portfolio helps deliver highly secure connectivity, visibility and control to assure that IoT initiatives deliver competitive advantage for customers across all verticals. The Cisco IoT System Security product portfolio includes IoT-specific security with the introduction of a new, dedicated security appliance (ISA-3000 for application visibility, policy enforcement and threat defense) and a Fog Data Services security solution. With today’s announcement, the IoT network can now act as a sensor and enforcer to provide security policy enforcement within router and switches. It also provides solutions for IoT physical security with video surveillance cameras, physical access control, and video surveillance manager with advanced security analytics. Cisco will continue to expand its IoT System security offering through additional developments and collaboration with key ecosystem partners, including Rockwell Automation.

A Few Quotes

Rick Schneider, North America CEO, FANUC: “Preventing unplanned downtime is a huge savings for our customers and makes the FANUC robots with ZDT a tremendous value. With Cisco, we are helping our customers access this new value and also re-imagining our go-to-market strategy for after-sales service and support. This has the potential to have the biggest impact of anything I’ve seen in my 35-year career.”

Murad Kurwa, Senior Vice President of Engineering, Advanced Engineering Group at Flex: “Cisco’s vision of the power of Industrial IoT was realized through joint collaboration using automation as the enabler. With Universal Mechanical Assembly process partnering with FANUC, we are now able to get data to create a pool of knowledge. This helps us take action through analytics and ultimately leads to a more robust ‘process’ performance – leading to a world class, smart factory.”

Ed Rodden, CIO, SugarCreek: “We are using Cisco’s Connected Machines solution as we build our new 418,000 square foot factory of the future. Cisco’s new Industrial IoT platform will provide us the ability to use all our company’s available pieces of data, including video and security, from all kinds of devices and to tie them all together to drive more operational efficiency in the new factory.”

Sujeet Chand, Sr. Vice President & CTO, Rockwell Automation: “The Cisco IoT System Security solution will make an immediate impact for customers by accelerating secure IT-OT convergence with an end-to-end security solution, simplifying compliance and mitigating threat vectors. Together with Cisco, we are helping industrial operations maintain the integrity and confidentially of their network in support of holistic enterprise risk management strategies throughout a Connected Enterprise.”

James Bielstein, CIO, Advanced Manufacturing Deployment for GE’s manufacturing facilities worldwide: “In order to start down the path to becoming a Brilliant Factory, the first step is to deploy a modern IT infrastructure. This infrastructure will give our plants the flexibility and security needed to develop a ‘digital thread’ from product design to shipping. Cisco is part of GE’s Brilliant Factory architecture.”

Georg Linhard, Project Manager for LINZ AG TELEKOM: “We decided to build on our existing Cisco network and channel its agility and simplicity to incorporate new security, mobile, and analytics technologies that help us achieve our goals and gain greater business insight.”

Patrick Albos, SVP, Oil and Gas Segment, Schneider Electric: “The Smart Connected Pipeline brings SCADA and IT infrastructure together in a converged, secure, easy to deploy and use platform, and brings significant business value in optimizing and reducing cost of pipeline operations.”