How to combine the environment with the economy and start living according to the principles of ESG

To reduce carbon emissions, it is not necessary to switch to solar panels and wind farms – sometimes it is enough to properly manage the existing electricity

About the expert: Dmitriy Podgorpunsky, Director of Siemens Intellectual Infrastructure in Russia.

Even a small solar power plant saves tons of carbon dioxide2 In the year

When a company aims to become greener, it needs to identify the activities that have the highest carbon footprint. For example, if employees often go on business trips, then these trips can be replaced with online conferences. And if a company has a lot of buildings, that means it needs to be more energy efficient.

At Siemens we have identified three areas of our business where we can reduce our environmental impact – buildings, energy and transportation. Our ultimate goal is to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2030. So far, our company has already achieved a 54% reduction in this indicator thanks to efficient buildings and factories, green electricity, decentralized energy systems, new mobility concepts and electric transportation. Already, more than 70% of our global energy consumption is green electricity. Additionally, our investments in energy efficiency projects have reduced energy costs by 15%. Recently, a solar power plant in Moscow also began to contribute to this.

Many do not believe in the effectiveness of solar panels in Russia due to the cold climate and the lack of sunny days. However, our experience with solar installations in Moscow has shown that they work efficiently even in the fall. In October 2021, we installed a terminal on the Moscow desktop. Even in dark places and with a low power of only 5 kW, the solar power plant reduces carbon dioxide emissions2 70 kg in two weeks. During the year, emissions will decrease by several tons.

Such a solar installation can be provided by any company, and it does not matter whether it has office buildings or industrial premises. We see that the market is interested in such solutions – especially the industry leaders. For example, the food industry, where large greenhouses and warehouses are operated. We run several projects with large industrial companies in Moscow, Yekaterinburg and Rostov-on-Don. Everywhere, different conditions of solar activity, on average, the installation of solar panels pays off in 3-4 years.

Sometimes it is enough just to change the settings

When talking about ESG, two associations come to mind: green energy with solar panels and windmills, and “dirty” energy – coal, oil and gas. But you always need to look at the entire supply chain: you can improve the infrastructure of a traditional urban network and contribute to reducing carbon emissions.

Power outages and sudden surges in current can have severe consequences for the plant, resulting in production interruptions and machine failure. We have often seen expensive equipment burn out due to low quality sensors that monitor power quality and transmit a signal to the controllers.

Core automation and increased monitoring capability is a direct path to cost optimization and adherence to ESG principles. The more you know about your business and equipment, the easier it will be to make decisions. It is not necessary to build solar power plants – sometimes it is better to study the energy costs of the enterprise and understand how to improve them.

For example, global auto components manufacturer Gestamp has installed equipment and solutions to collect, analyze and report energy consumption data at 15 plants in six countries. This upgrade enabled companies to save up to 15% in electricity and 8 million euros, in addition to reducing carbon dioxide emissions.2 By 14,000 tons annually.

In Russia, the first smart grid project was implemented in Ufa. Since 2013, together with BESK, we have modernized 513 power facilities and laid 96.5 km of cable lines. Sensors appeared in transformer substations – they show power quality, assess technical or commercial losses. As a result, electricity losses were reduced from 16-17% to 8-9%, and carbon dioxide annually2 It decreased by 550 thousand tons.

Other companies are also interested in such improvement projects: Sibur, Lukoil, Rosneft and others. They set the direction of the market, so we often talk to the engineers at these companies and discuss how we can reduce our environmental impact. Our most popular tip is to “Perform predictive diagnostics and get data from your power equipment.”

Smart grids are driving the electric car boom

When modernizing the power supply in Ufa, we applied the concept of a smart grid system – now employees can find out exactly where the accident occurred and how to quickly redistribute energy. The introduction of such a system indicates that it can be used in the future for the development of electric transport.

Technically, it is already possible to abandon gasoline or diesel now: charging stations are being built, and large automakers are regularly releasing new electric cars. We ourselves plan to redirect all the energy from the solar power plant of the Moscow office of charging electric cars to our employees – as a result, we will have a closed cycle and there will be no need to connect to a common network.

There are two models of electric charging stations:

  1. slow charging – the driver left the car for several hours, for example, overnight, until the battery was full;
  2. Fast Charging – A person does not have the opportunity to charge the car for a long time and charges the battery for several minutes near his office or shopping center or returns to the city to partially fill the battery and come home sooner.

For each scenario, you need to understand what voltage should be in the networks and at what point. Otherwise, there may be power outages and accidents at substations. In the case of a single building, regulating electric vehicle charging is not a problem, but building an entire system of charging stations at the city or state level is no longer easy.

First, you need to understand the flow of electrical transmission, from and where charging takes place, where and at what moments there should be electricity.. But the more distributed the power generation, the more acute the issues of integration and information exchange between many networks.

Second, electrical automation is the first step towards an efficient charging infrastructure. Due to the size of the country and the outdated equipment in the networks, we simply do not have enough information to analyze it. At some points of the network, there are not or not enough sensors. Therefore, a mandatory step is automation and increased ability to observe.

Third, hardware and software production localization. In terms of hardware, everything is relatively simple. Difficulties arise when creating the electric mobility model itself – flows, peaks, accumulation and consumption of energy. Software, process management, integration into existing billing systems and information technology – all this should be developed in Russia taking into account the developments of international players. Localization and deep cooperation with other market participants is very important.

You can just put the port to charge now. But creating an electric vehicle ecosystem that integrates with shared power grids, propulsion systems and other facilities, in which all operations are built, is more challenging.

Can Russia become a leader in the electric car market?

Today, the Russian electric car market includes about 12,000 units. But this small market is growing at a phenomenal pace: by 2025-2026, it is expected that the industry will expand significantly and electric car models will appear in different price segments.

To do this, a charging infrastructure must be created and made available. All beneficiaries – from government agencies, “Rossetti” and “Rosavtodor” to the auto industry and equipment manufacturers – discuss what it should look like. Standards and principles for building this infrastructure are now being developed, and this mode of operation will continue over the next few years.

For several years, Siemens has been an active participant in the mobile communications market, and we started five years behind Europe or America. But then there was a huge growth in Russia. The wind energy market has developed in the same way, now the installed capacity already exceeds gigawatts and will grow 2-3 times in the coming years. Now, the industry has already formed, including domestic production, development and supply of equipment and training of specialists. We expect the same situation for electric mobility.

Our experience shows that we started later than Europe or other countries, but we are growing faster due to technology. Already in Scandinavia, 7 out of 10 cars sold are electric cars, but they have problems with infrastructure. We study this experience and take it into account in our developments in order to avoid the same mistakes.

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