Exclusive interview with Oswaldo Kaschny, Electric Utilities Vice President for Infrastructure Business at Schneider Electric – gold sponsors at the upcoming European Utility Week.

What are you most excited about currently in terms of Schneider Electric’s products and solutions?

Schneider Electric is focused on the complete smart grid value chain for all our customers. Schneider Electric knows that smarter grids call for smarter interactions and we aim to connect all our customers to the smart grid. Our portfolio of innovative and differentiated solutions and services offer real added-value and connect our customers with each other so that everyone can play an active role!

What is on the calendar for Schneider Electric in 2013-14?

We will continue to collaborate and experiment in pilot projects on new technology and new business models with key utility partners in Europe and beyond. We will deliver function and system acceptance testing for some key Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS) deployments, and smart grid projects such as Greenlys, EnR Pool and Venteea in France will deliver tangible results. Our European smart metering projects with Fortum Finland and Norway and Vattenfall Sweden will also reach defining project milestones.

What opportunities do you see in Europe?

Europe offers a wealth of smart grid opportunities. Clearly the most pressing industry challenge is managing a growing share of distributed renewable generation. This and other forms of distributed energy resources (DERs) will be key to meet the requirements for reduced emissions and to fill the gaps between system load and generation capacity.

However the often intermittent nature and distributed design of DERs mean that grid operators need smart solutions, such as our ADMS to integrate greener energy sources seamlessly. Our renewable control center applications are also vital to improve smart generation production forecasts and decision making. Grid reliability, ensuring improved customer satisfaction, is also a hot topic in Europe and our scalable distribution automation schemes will also enable European utilities to comply with regulatory requirements.

What do you think makes Schneider Electric competitive in this market?

Schneider Electric’s core business with partners has been increasingly strengthened by a growing relationship with large end users, especially to optimize their critical applications. Equally by growing our service business, our Ecostruxure software and solution approach, we have considerably improved those added values our customers are looking for, to be recognized as the global specialist in energy management.

What do you think are the biggest challenges to the European/global energy market?

In a complicated international environment, energy markets are increasingly dedicated to unlocking the potential of energy efficiency and an overriding pressure for strong power grid reliability. Utilities are consistently challenged by increasing energy demand, the need for better energy efficiency and to reduce environmental impact, the expansion of renewable energies, energy market regulations and the emergence of demand response, as well as the growing need for real time control, security and reliability. We believe that the challenges faced by our customers in this market offer long term growth prospects.

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