InterviewsSustainability

Reliable Renewable Power Integration is Key for a More Sustainable Future

Christian Cravedi, the SVP Hub Manager IMEA PAEN and Group MD for Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman, at ABB, speaks about the role technology plays in the journey toward sustainability

How does technology contribute to sustainability?
At ABB, we strongly believe that early investments in automation, digitalization, and electrification technology are the key steps toward reducing carbon emissions and overall sustainability. This can ensure a reduction in operation costs and even create safer work environments. For example, the automation of oil and gas facilities alone can improve the overall carbon footprint, achieving in over 320,000 tons of carbon savings per site per year for offshore facilities. This adoption can also enable the path toward renewable energy, especially in the context of the oil and gas industry, where the use of resources is optimized.

What sort of sustainability efforts does your company practice? Examples: minimal/recyclable packaging, use of recycled material for devices, green energy, low energy consumption, digital products and services, and so on.
At ABB, we provide targeted solutions and technologies that enable automation and efficiency. Our goal is to reduce annual CO2 emissions by more than 100 megatons by 2030, the equivalent of the annual emissions of 30 million combustion cars. The target for 2050 is to bring that down to net zero emissions with the use of automation, digital, and electrification technology. We commit to protecting the environment, primarily through investment and research on e-mobility, automation services, and global R&D centers.

Our new HQ and collaboration center in Musaffah, Abu Dhabi is one of the largest, that focuses on targeted solutions, developments, and training, making it a key hub in the region. We also partnered with the Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing’s Engage scheme to look at strategies, R&D projects, customer deliverables, and future trends to help its customers prepare and deal with crises better through the implementation of automation and mobile technology for energy management.

We have also launched a new online hub to help Energy Service Companies (ESCos) to tackle the energy crisis, as it demands a drastic scale-up of projects with the integration of new energy sources and renewables for a hybrid power market. The web-based collaborative hub provides access to important information, facilitates relations, and accesses new energy consultancy opportunities. Our technology is also used to maximize the efficiency and reliability of the world’s largest single-site solar plant Al Dhafra PV2 in Abu Dhabi, where the plant will generate enough power to meet the energy demand of 160,000 homes and reduce the city’s CO2 emissions by 2.4 million metric tons per year, equivalent to emissions from 470,000 combustion cars.

We have also signed an agreement with Coolbrook, known for their RotoDynamic technology which can help cut up to 2.4 billion metric tons of carbon emissions annually, to advance and commercialize the technology on an industrial scale

Do we need to look at sustainability beyond the use of “green energy”?
We believe that the successful implementation of reliable renewable power integration is key to a more sustainable future. The main goal is to reduce carbon emissions through automation technologies, thereby reducing energy use in industry, buildings, and transport. At ABB, we commit to protecting the environment with the use of technology, especially through investment and research on e-mobility, automation services and global R&D.

How can companies reduce their carbon footprint? Are there local or regional initiatives that encourage companies to adopt best practices?
We firmly believe that automation and digitalization is the key to reducing the overall carbon footprint, which is what our core solutions focus on.

In the UAE, the Energy Strategy has a goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and focuses on the implementation of new technologies to reach that goal. ABB also plays a key role in the same, with its targeted solutions and technologies that enable automation and efficiency.

What challenges do companies face today in their journey toward net zero and how can technology help solve those issues?
Companies in the UAE lack a proper support framework toward net zero and renewable energy while also being challenged by an over-dependence on fossil fuels.

Additionally, there is hesitance from companies who are wary about adopting new technologies, which is supplemented by high operational and running costs. The risk of adoption to the cloud is widespread across larger companies, especially with concerns around protection, security, and safety.

This is topped off by high costs and concerns about adoption at high enough rates to cover these costs.

What factors can help companies advance toward their sustainability goals?
Sustainability should be one of the key goals for companies today. At ABB, we follow our Sustainability 2030 Strategy which focuses on four main pillars. First and foremost, we aim for a low-carbon society with a goal of carbon neutrality across our own operations. We also work with impactful suppliers and aim for a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030.

We also focus on preserving resources, with a goal of zero waste from our operations that will be disposed of in landfills. We also commit to having at least 80% of ABB products and solutions covered by our circularity approach. We also commit to promoting social progress, where zero harm is caused to our employees and contractors resulting in a reduction in lost time from incidents.

Our final pillar focus on acting with integrity and transparency, by setting annual ESG targets for bonus awards and having a Code of Conduct that acts as a basis for interactions with projects and counterparties.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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