Schneider helps cities switch on to save

Updated: 2012-11-21 11:14

By Meng Jing (China Daily)

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To achieve that goal, Schneider Electric, which reported sales of 22.4 billion euros ($29.2 billion) last year, acquired other IT solution providers in 2011, including the Spain-based IT and industrial automation company Telvent GIT SA. Schneider Electric said the convergence of information and communications technologies and energy has become common enough to constitute a global trend.

Cities can overcome various difficulties through the use of information and communication technology, for instance, by relying on car rental arrangements to reduce the number of vehicles on the roads.

According to the Smart 2020 report, published by the IT services and consultancy company Accenture last year, the use of smart technologies in electrical grids, transport, shipping, buildings and industrial motors could reduce global emissions by 15 percent by 2020 and save about $900 billion a year in energy costs.

Gaonach said Schneider Electric has many opportunities in China. "What we are trying to do is to be more selective in partnerships and take a step-by-step approach," he said.

The company has around 50 SmartCity projects in China, each of which concentrates on one or two specific undertakings rather than the integrated solutions Schneider Electric can offer, Gaonach said, adding that about 10 of those cities will become the company's long-term strategic partners.

Those relationships will require extensive cooperation between local governments, private companies and investors and will call on participants from different walks of life to work together on sustainable development models.

"It is one thing to do a specific project; it is another to become long-term partners, which is much more complicated," Gaonach said. "We are trying to develop our strategic partners from those cities we have solid, concrete projects with."

The clients are likely to be some of the large cities found in China's more developed coastal regions, as well as expanding inland cities, he said.

He estimated that a complete renovation of a city can take 10 years or more.

"The top priority for us is to develop in China for China solutions," he said. "We have a very ambitious research and development plan with a new R&D center being established in China later this year."

Schneider Electric invests 5 percent of its annual revenue in research and development, he said, and a growing proportion of that money is being put into China.

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