Why Don’t More Companies Use Microgrids in their Climate Disaster Plans?

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Wondering why more companies aren’t incorporating microgrids into their climate disaster plans? The answer may be pretty simple. They still don’t know what microgrids are.

That’s one of the findings from research released today by Schneider Electric about how organizations are transforming their business models in response to climate change.

Schneider, one of the most active companies in the microgrid arena, in September and October surveyed 100 global companies earning more than $250 million in annual revenue about their familiarity with various climate-related technologies and strategies.

The good news? Companies know more about microgrids than they do biomimicry. The bad news? They know less about microgrids than a lot of other climate strategies, among them B Corp adoption or alignment, net-zero aligned operations and value chain, and prosumerism.

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Schneider points out a big problem the results revealed — businesses lack knowledge about the practical solutions that can help them immediately begin decarbonizing. Some of the “most immediately available and effective climate action solutions” — such as microgrids and renewable energy — are less understood, the company wrote in a release that accompanied the results.

“While we are delighted to see that many major organizations are actively thinking about climate change and the risks it poses to their business, we were surprised to learn that familiarity with readily available and practical solutions to reduce carbon emissions is mixed. In order for organizations to truly transform their business, it is critical to go beyond traditional methods of energy management and business practices, and leverage the latest technologies and solutions to drive bold and measurable decarbonization outcomes,” said Susan Uthayakumar, president of Schneider Electric’s Sustainability Business Division.

The findings echo research done by the Civil Society Institute that mined US voters for their thoughts about microgrids. It turned out that voters, too, were largely unfamiliar with the technology — although when they learned about microgrids they expressed support for them.

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Business Model Transformation Databook: 2021 Report. Courtesy of Schneider Electric

The Schneider survey also found that organizations are actively thinking about climate change and how to modernize their energy management to prepare. Most of those interviewed had identified climate risks to their operations — only 3% believe their operations are not at risk. Yet only 7% have completely transformed their business in anticipation of future environmental or social challenges and only 21% consider their organization to have advanced significantly in making their business model more environmentally or socially responsive.

Schneider, which was recognized earlier this year by the Corporate Knights Global 100 Index as the world’s most sustainable corporation, said the findings show the complexity and scope of the climate challenge, something that cannot be addressed by a single organization, industry, country or government.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than two decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.

Comments

  1. Carlos Bertagno says:

    Elis excellent, I’m from the South Cone, Argentina and really as a society need a sort of shock to show up the Climate Disaster as it is, a truly disaster.
    I hope the Innovation Summit World Tour 2021 sponsored by Schneider be the start up of change of mind set about microgrid.
    Best
    [email protected]

  2. “In order for organizations to truly transform their business, it is critical to go beyond traditional methods of energy management and business practices, and leverage the latest technologies and solutions to drive bold and measurable decarbonization outcomes,” said Susan Uthayakumar, president of Schneider Electric’s Sustainability Business Division.

    I subscribe this problem to the ubiquitous grid and 120 year old electricity industry. This would be the example of [institutionalization] and the many forms it takes. Many generations have grown up with the centralized generation and grid system as part of “modern” society. The process has been slow at best, dilatory and dangerous at least. C&I entities are beginning to understand that, that nifty program and equipment they bought 10 years ago that climate controls only rooms with people putting out a heat signature to turn on lights and open ductwork for air conditioning are low hanging fruit and the sun beating down on the roof of their businesses is costing them a lot of money they could capture and reduce overall energy costs using newer technology. Some of these large commercial and industrial complexes have ample roof space for large solar PV arrays of from 100kWp to perhaps 1MWp and this type of system can also provide the business with 30% to 50% of the total energy needed to run the operation daily. Another epiphany is when one of these C&I entities realizes by adding energy storage one can extend the solar PV powered day into night. At the same time it would be noticed that if their ESS is ‘smart’ they can shed another 20% to 30% on their monthly electric bills by being able to store and time shift energy when the utility has their TOU program after the sun starts going down or at night with the addition of “demand charges” added to the cost of electricity after dark. Controlling reoccurring overhead would make the entire operation more robust to down turns in the economy. Every little bit helps, so a commercial or industrial building saves from 60% perhaps maybe up to 100% on monthly electric bills, could not this money go back into the budget and perhaps pay at least some of the SSI costs every month, could this money be put into a shared pension account to allow retirees a pension at the end of their working career? Overhead saved is overhead earned.

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