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Developing solutions to minimize impact on the environment

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Technological progress, globalization and population growth present unprecedented sustainability challenges – from natural resource depletion, to energy conservation, to the degradation of the environment. And yet, with America’s abundant energy reserves, industrial leadership and influence in global affairs, the country has an opportunity to set a new course for sustainability.  Siemens has been privileged to work closely with customers around the world in offering attainable solutions and meaningful partnerships as we all work toward the vitally important goal of reducing emissions and fighting climate change.

Siemens’ commitment is not contingent on international treaties or regulations. The company does this because it is important to the planet, the country, to communities and to families. The products Siemens creates, the technologies invented, and the challenges solved will not only lay the path to environmental preservation, but to energy independence and economic security as well. This pursuit will develop new markets, inspire new products, create new jobs, and foster new career opportunities.

In practical terms, Siemens’ sustainability mission is broken down into three key areas:

  1. reducing harmful emissions;
  2. using energy efficiency to conserve resources;
  3. and preserving America’s precious and limited natural resources.

Siemens’ goal is to be the first major industrial company in the world to achieve a net zero carbon footprint by 2030.  The company is working to get halfway to that goal just three years from now, in 2020.  This is an extraordinarily ambitious task considering Siemens has more than 60 manufacturing sites in the U.S. alone.

In order to cut our carbon emissions in half by 2020, Siemens plans to drive energy efficiency programs, leverage distributed energy systems, reduce fleet emissions and purchase renewable energy.

Here in the U.S., the company is installing distributed and renewable-energy systems at a number of its facilities. As a model, the company looks to its rail manufacturing plant in Sacramento, which is powered in part by solar energy.  

The cleanest energy is energy that isn’t needed. Large buildings are the biggest users of energy across our communities.  Thus, the quickest, most cost-effective way to use less energy and extend the country’s energy supply is to make those facilities more energy-efficient.  Siemens’ Building Technologies has already helped customers save more than $2 billion in energy and operational costs.  In Charlotte, Siemens built a certified manufacturing facility to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards to cut both costs and emissions during construction and operation. Looking forward, these are the kinds of activities the company looks to scale.

Fighting climate change and sustaining the environment is the right thing to do.  And, Siemens has the right people to do it.

Giving customers more choices, increased resiliency

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The expectations for how the grid should work and what it should be capable of are as high as they’ve ever been. But consumers aren’t willing to wait for the larger grid to become smarter, an effort that will take time—decades—to complete. Whether their concern is climate change, resiliency, or cost, they’re eager to reap the benefits of a digital grid today. There is, however, an alternative to waiting. The solution is to put customers back in power. Siemens enables customers to stay connected to the grid while also having the capability of generating and managing power themselves using the latest technologies and software. Customers can now have more control over how they manage their energy supply, how they use it, and how much they pay for it. And critically, they are shielded from damaging storms and severe weather. That’s why Siemens is working on:

  • Creating renewable energy solutions and combined heat and power systems that are as much as 90 percent more efficient versus traditional power generation;
  • Developing software and automated controls for assets such as microgrids that intelligently manage power supplies, increase reliability and reduce carbon footprints;
  • Providing storage technology to help customers reliably deploy renewable energy sources

Powering the Blue Lake Rancheria Native American microgrid

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Blue Lake Rancheria, a 100-year-old Native American reservation in Northern California, has launched its low-carbon community microgrid to help power government offices, economic enterprises, and critical Red Cross safety shelter-in-place facilities across 100 acres. The microgrid allows the reservation to operate independently of the power grid in coordination with local utility Pacific Gas & Electric. The project integrates the largest solar array in Humboldt County, California and is estimated to save the Tribe over $200,000 in annual energy costs and reduce at least 150 tons of carbon per year.

The microgrid will provide energy savings for the Tribe through peak shaving and demand response during business-as-usual situations and emergency power for critical facilities for months if necessary in climate change-induced or other emergency situations.

The deployment of this technology is made feasible by the introduction of intelligent software to manage and control a vast array of energy resources. With Siemens’ intelligent microgrid management software, Blue Lake Rancheria is able to rely on a complex mix of generation and storage to work together to deliver efficient, reliable and cleaner power for the Tribe's government offices, its casino, hotel and event center, and other critical infrastructure. The software is able to accurately predict the reservation's power load needs and dynamically manage and control its distributed power generation through integrated weather data and load forecasting, and use case and load shed scenarios. The Reservation will use this detailed power usage insight to provide its residents and businesses with reliable, high quality power without fear of outages or power interruption.

Blue Lake Rancheria’s microgrid deployment and its success is a direct result of an industry-leading collaborative approach between tribal, federal, state, and local entities, university partners, technology providers, and electric utilities. This public and private partnership can provide a model for microgrid deployments.