by Brian Brickhouse
The best way to predict the future is to create it. - Peter Drucker
In the midst of several historic events visibly unfolding around us, Drucker’s quote has taken on new relevance for companies and society as the world engages in another, quieter transformative process – the energy transformation.
Energy use is no longer a passive cost of doing business but is now a key part of a company’s environmental, social, and corporate governance initiatives (ESG). It is an increasingly complex system that requires rigorous management and a rapidly evolving set of choices. As Eaton leaders Tim Darkes and Cyrille Brisson recently highlighted, the energy transition is transforming how we manage power.
Companies such as Eaton are at the forefront of this transformation, and we’re helping to drive the future of intelligent power management.
"Energy use is no longer a passive cost of doing business but is now a key part of a company’s environmental, social, and corporate governance initiatives (ESG). It is an increasingly complex system that requires rigorous management and a rapidly evolving set of choices."
Brian Brickhouse, President, Americas Region, Electrical Sector
Leveraging infrastructure investments to drive change
The electrical grid is shifting to bi-directional power as distributed energy resources proliferate, technology has advanced to allow for smarter management of power solutions, and investments must be made by governments around the world to ensure the electrical infrastructure is cyber secure, resilient, and providing intelligence and insights around operational productivity.
In the U.S., funding has also been made available to tackle some of these very issues. In November 2021, President Biden signed the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) into law, paving the way for a tremendous investment in the country’s infrastructure. This will provide resources for numerous projects across the nation, including:
- $110 billion for roads, bridges, and major infrastructure projects
- $65 billion to rebuild the electric grid
- $65 billion for improving broadband infrastructure
- $55 billion to upgrade water infrastructure
- $50 billion towards system resiliency updates
- $47.5 billion for zero and low-emission ferries and buses
- $25 billion for repair in maintenance in airports
- $21 billion for environmental remediation projects
- $17 billion for investments in port infrastructure
- $11 billion for transportation safety
- $7.5 billion for expanding the nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations
With the list’s heavy focus on energy, especially in reinforcing and upgrading our current infrastructure, power management companies have a clear responsibility – and opportunity ─ to develop solutions to meet the world’s most urgent energy needs. Predictions around energy use show an increased need to meet the global demand for energy. That also includes the full production process, starting with generation, moving into delivery and finally, increasing capacity of energy storage. Here and across the globe, we are asking more of our electricity than ever before.
Meeting the world’s demand for renewable energy
We also know the demands on our energy are evolving in parallel to our changing needs in this modern world. People continue to look for ways to harness cleaner energy and a smarter, bi-directional system that fits the needs of organizations and aligns with their own values. Discussions around decarbonization are no longer idealistic ─ development and pricing have made them more accessible to businesses and individuals to deploy as they seek to reduce their own carbon footprints. A poll taken a month prior to the Ukraine invasion found that 69 percent of Americans want the United States to become carbon neutral by 2050.
Technology as a force for change
Innovations in technology – and our reliance on it, particularly during the pandemic – have also been key in driving the transformation.
The idea of having stable internet access is no longer a “nice to have” and technology companies rely on advanced systems for everything from placing orders to resource deployment to providing security services to their own clients. Flexibility and reliability are essential, and the cost of not being prepared is steep. In 2017, a major cloud service provider went down for four hours and impacted millions of websites. The outage resulted in a loss of $150 million for S&P 500 companies and $160 million for financial services firms that used the system.
Eaton has been working with its customers to create and deliver solutions through this rapidly changing environment for a while, and the IIJA has created an expanded opportunity for homes and businesses to reexamine their own energy needs. Inside of our company, we are examining how our solutions, technology, and products can be deployed as part of the investment in infrastructure.
Now is the perfect time for everyone to lean into technology to make smarter decisions regarding energy use and consumption that will help regulate costs and provide operational benefits. And as an added benefit, companies can work to find solutions that will accelerate the energy transition while being kinder to the environment.
At Eaton, we’re committed to providing solutions and driving innovation to meet and exceed our customers’ needs. The world is demanding more of our energy and we stand ready to meet the challenge.
KEYWORDS: NYSE:ETN, Eaton, Brian Brickhouse