Emmanuel Babeau, Schneider Electric: ''Even in difficult times, we keep investing in the country''

Emmanuel Babeau, Schneider Electric: ''Even in difficult times, we keep investing in the country'' Photo: Maksim Platonov

A delegation of French Schneider Electric company, which is present in more than 100 countries of the world, visited Kazan. Representatives of the international energy leader arrived in Kazan to expand vectors of the joint work with several regional structures. TAIF GC was among the key partners of the corporation. A strategic cooperation agreement was signed at a meeting in its head office. In a short interview to Realnoe Vremya, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Schneider Electric Emmanuel Babeau told how much money the French corporation invested in energy saving technologies, whether the former production in Tatarstan would reappear and today's state of Russian power engineering.

''We invest €1,3 billion in R&D in a year''

Mr Babeau, how do you assess the energy level in Russia in comparison with the rest of the world?

Russia is a gifted country. It has been enjoying a lot of energy for many decades. It is probably fair to say that until recently energy efficiency was not a top priority when it came to investments. But things are changing rapidly. All the Russian big companies also want to invest in efficiency and reliability today. The capacity to improve it today is huge, which is a good opportunity for the country.

There is a capacity to integrate new source of green energy from new renewable sources. The capacity to improve it today is huge, which is a good opportunity for the country

A question that Russian energy networks require modernisation and new solutions has arisen in recent time. In your opinion, what can be offered in Russia?

It is not only in Russia. You can find this question in many countries of the world. You see the emergence of new technologies thanks to software, the Internet of Things that is enabling today to reach new efficiency for the grid. Thanks to automation and software, you are now able to have much more efficient production of electricity with a low waste level. There is a capacity to integrate new source of green energy from new renewable sources. They are going to save energy, provide cheaper energy and greener energy to the consumer. This is going to appear here in Russia and like in all countries of the world.

We use tens of millions of euro in a year in upgrading our capacity in the country

How much money do you annually invest in energy saving technologies in Russia?

We invest €1,3 billion in R&D in a year. That is targeting all countries in the world. We want to bring all our skills, technologies here in Russia. Today we are employing more than 10,000 people in Russia in six production sites. It is a big presence in the country. We use tens of millions of euro in a year in upgrading our capacity in the country. The agreement we have signed in Innopolis is very important because we start doing R&D in Russia. We will work on software, industrial production efficiency and reliability, cyber security production against hacking in Innopolis.

''Local production must economically correspond to orders''

Who are your rivals in Russia in this area? What are your advantages?

We have traditional competitors at an international level. I don't do advertising for them (laughing). We are the leader in energy management technology. We are the leader in managing both low- and medium-voltage technologies. The medium-voltage grid technology is how to make the grid efficient to distribute electricity and energy. The low-voltage technology is what you have in all buildings to make the electricity efficient for the consumer. So we are able to integrate the two dimensions increasing electricity consumption efficiency. In addition, Schneider Electric is one of the leading players in the automation industry. We bring technologies, solutions, software to make all machines and processes efficient and reliable, we have big experience in working with the oil and gas sector. It means that when we are partnering with great petrochemical, oil and gas companies of Tatarstan, we are able to provide maximum efficiency.

Today we produce more than 60% of what we sell in Russia. We want to keep increasing that share

How are you going to develop the company in Russia in the next 5 years?

We have been investing in Russia consistently for 25 years. Even in difficult times, we keep investing in the country. Many commercial experts are involved int investing to meet the needs of our customers. Technologies we brought to Russia have grown significantly. So the plan for the next five years is to increase production in Russia. Today we produce more than 60% of what we sell in Russia. We want to keep increasing that share. I am not saying we want to get 100% because there is no country in the world with 100%. But we want to increase the percentage significantly. So, we are going to invest to increase production, experts, software in the country. We are going to increase our R&D effort. This is why a R&D Centre in Innopolis was founded.

It became known recently that the company is going to close its factory in Yekaterinburg, which moved there from Kazan, in the middle of 2017. Will the factory open again in Tatarstan?

We see the R&D Centre that we open in Innopolis as our first step. This is a starting point to develop relationship with all big companies of Tatarstan. We also signed an agreement with the Kazan Power Engineering University and Innopolis University. We will be able to presuppose in the future that the joint work with our clients will lead to a birth of production. The presence of local production must economically correspond to orders we develop locally. It is what we are going to do first before installing the production capacity in the region. In addition, our R&D in Innopolis will create new products, if there is a demand, a production issue will arise.

By Anna Saushina, Alina Gubaidullina. Photo: Maksim Platonov