How Schneider Electric wants to be the French leader in the energy transition

Check out the podcast for the full interview with Esther Finidori, Chief Strategy Officer at Schneider Electric France:

In a time of skyrocketing energy prices and the resulting cost savings to cap electricity bills, Schneider Electric has a good card to play. Specializing in low voltage electrical equipment, the French group wants to position itself as a key player in companies in terms of energy management. “Only 6% of tertiary buildings such as offices, schools and hospitals are equipped with control technologies, but there is a huge need for air to deploy them,” said Esther Finidori, director of strategy for Schneider Electric in France.

Thanks to this observation and a diversification strategy started a few years ago, the French industrialist is doing well. In the first half of 2022, its turnover amounted to 16.1 billion euros, which is 16.7% more than in the same period of 2021. In the first six months of this year, net profit amounted to 1.8 billion euros, up 11%.

Despite an uncertain economic context, Schneider Electric is making a difference with its offerings to address the decarbonization needs of companies that must at the same time accelerate their digital transformation. “Today, a company that does not integrate energy transition into its strategy will miss out on a fundamental element of its sustainability and performance tomorrow,” says Esther Finidori. “We need more planning and foresight. We are at a turning point,” she adds, while “the crisis is revealing fundamental movements” such as the “physical reality of energy” and the fact that it is “an extremely important factor in competitiveness.” for our economy.”

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Acquisitions and blockchain for the energy management of buildings

In an increasingly saturated energy transition market, the French company has evolved over time into an industrial automation specialist to compete with players like Honeywell or Siemens. Significant of the change, it bought the UK-based industrial software company Aveva this year, putting more than 4 billion euros on the table. Since 2017, he already owned almost 60% of his capital.

The acquisition is part of the group’s efforts to strengthen its service offering, in particular by creating digital twins of factories or buildings to improve energy management. Because if the alignment of efficiency and sobriety becomes a priority in the service industry and in Industry 4.0, it will require colossal amounts of data to be processed. In this context, software like that developed by Aveva can be critical.

To get even more data on environmental performance across the entire value chain, blockchain could be a great asset after the merger operation in the Ethereum ecosystem proved that it is possible to get rid of an overly energy-intensive blockchain. “Blockchain will play a role in creating new business models and thus managing transactions that will be highly decentralized,” says Esther Finidori. Although “ecological traceability does not currently exist”, expectations are high. And the situation may well change in the coming years, especially under the leadership of Schneider Electric.

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