Allie Schwertner, industry sales engineer and leader for sustainability and energy at Rockwell Automation, discusses how the company fits into the microgrid industry as it shoots for carbon neutrality across its manufacturing facilities by 2030.
Rockwell Automation is a leader in automation and control systems in the microgrid and larger energy industry.
“We are the world’s largest company solely dedicated to industrial automation and control,” Schwertner said. The company serves primarily the manufacturing industry. According to Schwertner, you will also find Rockwell Automation in municipalities, universities and more.
“We’re primarily focused on industrial automation control, which involves network security, information software and analytics optimization,” she said.
Rockwell Automation has been actively involved in the microgrid industry for over 30 years, said Schwertner, offering the company’s work with backup gensets and diesel generators for its industrial customers as examples.
“Why we’re interested in it [the microgrid industry] is because energy, electricity, how we power these facilities — the lifeline of them — nothing can operate without it,” Schwertner noted. Many businesses in the industrial space are seeing the growing cost to power outages and putting a bigger focus on energy resiliency.
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This rings true, as well, for facilities like hospitals, universities and big manufacturing customers, which are dependent on the input of reliable energy sources.
“You might not think of Rockwell at the top of your mind when it comes to microgrids, but the majority of the time, we’re coming in with our controller and other assets, whether its the boilers, the chillers, the solar, balance of plant, wind turbines — there’s some piece of Rockwell coming in, and it’s exciting to be actively out here talking about it more,” she said.
“When you think about microgrids in their role, you know they’re really about optimizing different gensets, and, you know, customizing it to the different facilities, and I think just as equally important is making sure there’s reliable energy,” Schwertner said.
And Rockwell Automation has actively been reaching out to potential new customers. Normandeau pointed out that in 2020 Rockwell Automation hosted its own virtual event called the Automation Fair (on demand online until June 2021).
As for what the microgrid industry should focus on in listening to the fair’s virtual sessions, Schwertner broke it down to two things.
First, you will hear about different acquisitions Rockwell Automation has made, as well as the things the company is doing with edge computing and network infrastructure. Secondly, Schwertner said, the company recently committed to being carbon neutral, scope one and two, across its manufacturing facilities by 2030.
“I’m looking forward to how we’re going to achieve that goal and how we can demonstrate our technology,” she said.
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