Dialogue, innovation and training: 3 key conditions to succeed in the energy transition
Cergy, 8 October 2015 – Just a few months before the holding of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris, from November 30 to December 11 this year, SPIE has restated its commitment to the fight against greenhouse gas emissions. Through its participation in this key event, the independent European leader in multi-technical services in the fields of energy and communications will seek to share its experience with all its partners in order to take up this worldwide challenge.
With the unprecedented goal of reaching a universal binding agreement in order to effectively fight climate disruption, COP 21 will be the major environmental meeting in 2015. As a player in the transition to a low-carbon society, the SPIE group will naturally be at this event to showcase its contributions in the Solutions Gallery organised on the fringes of the summit meeting.
Discussing and explaining
While the diagnosis of climate change and its anthropogenic nature appear to be unanimously accepted, the implementation of solutions calls for convergent action by several types of players, such as businesses, NGOs and countries. As a responsible company, SPIE plays an active part in several joint professional bodies to further debate and prepare for the future. In this context, the Group is supporting The Shift Project (TSP), a European think-tank supporting transition to an economy freed from its dependence on fossil energy sources.
40% reduction in greenhouse gases, 27% of European energy consumption from renewable sources by 2030: these are targets, set by the European Commission, which SPIE aims to support by proposing innovative solutions in its business fields (Smart city, e-fficient buildings, Energies, and Industry services).
In the building sector, representing the largest portion of energy consumption in Europe – accounting for nearly 40% of final energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions, SPIE proposes a comprehensive approach combining energy transition and digital technologies. The primary objective is to improve buildings’ energy and environmental performances, while ensuring the comfort of occupants. This approach was illustrated by work carried out on the D2 tower in La Défense business district, near Paris, where SPIE teams provided comprehensive services in 2014 for the installation of the tower’s high and low voltage electrical power systems, generators sets, building management system, energy efficiency system and fire safety system. This flagship 37-storey, 54,000 sq. m building qualified for French high environmental quality and very high energy efficiency certification. A similar high level of requirements had to be met for the “La Toison d’Or” housing complex in Belgium, where SPIE installed heating and air conditioning systems. The choice of a biofuel-fired cogeneration system should provide energy savings 15% better than current legal requirements.
Industry is another key sector in which SPIE has built up special expertise in optimising all energy inputs for the same service output. The resulting improvement in overall performance gives industrial firms competitive advantages, as illustrated by the project SPIE implemented at the Takeda pharmaceuticals plant in Germany. The solution adopted brought this pharmaceuticals company annual savings of €1.1 million, reduced annual electricity consumption by more than 10,000 kWh and replaced 8,000 MWh of heating with cogeneration technology.
Through development in areas such as green energy sources, sustainable mobility, intelligent networks, eco-neighbourhoods and advanced communications, smart cities also pave the way to a reinvented urban environment that is more responsible and more economical with resources. Looking forward to a low-carbon economy, priority is given to reconfiguring major infrastructures, such as power transmission and distribution systems, airport sites, and road, rail and waterway networks. In taking up this challenge, SPIE addresses local needs by seeking long-term unified responses to technical problems. In this context, SPIE has, for a number of years, been rolling out smart lighting systems, like the City Networks system which allows urban lighting to be adapted to take various factors into account, such as sunlight, number of people or holding of special events requiring more lighting.
Constantly changing professional disciplines
Technologies are changing but what about the skills needed to implement them? Many of the disciplines represented at SPIE did not exist a few years ago. The company has to dedicate considerable resources to ongoing professional training to ensure that the skills of all its employees keep pace with ceaselessly changing technologies. At SPIE, this training is provided by an in-house organisation, SPIE’s Skills Development Centre which comprises a Management School and a Technology Institute. Qualified external and internal training staff pass on their expertise to provide suitable training modules to keep up with the changes in the world around us.
"Enhancing the quality of life for as many people as possible while also facilitating our transition to a low-carbon society is clearly a tough challenge but that mustn’t stop us – on the contrary!" says Alfredo Zarowsky, SPIE’s Deputy Managing Director. "The United Nations conference on climate change in Paris and the decisions that will then be made are driving forces for innovation, encouraging us to keep optimising our skills. This is the only way of achieving the ambitious targets necessary for the preservation of our planet."