The Business Year

Sridhar Sharma

OMAN - Green Economy

Sridhar Sharma

General Manager for Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait, Schneider Electric

Bio

Sridhar Sharma has over two decades of experience in the electrical engineering industry in the Middle East and India. Sharma leads Schneider Electric’s operations across the three countries. Sharma’s expertise spans electrical engineering, project management, the renewable energy transition, and digital transformation concepts. He has an executive certification from the Indian Institute of Management and a bachelor of electrical engineering from Jiwaji University.

Schneider Electric is committed to being the digital partner of choice for its customers for sustainability and efficiency.

What have been some of your major operational developments in Oman in the past year?

2020 was an unprecedented year for us all, both individuals and organizations. However, we have adapted as a team; keeping health and safety as priority, we remain connected with our customers. For Schneider Electric, remote working has been there for many years. And we have also supported our customers in two key areas—digitalization and sustainability. We have seen demand for the former grow rapidly. For the latter, we are seeing growing interest in how organizations can operate more efficiently and with a smaller carbon footprint. While we all hope the pandemic ends soon, we will be dealing with the climate crisis for decades to come. Throughout all this, our mission will remain the same. We are committed to being the digital partner of choice for our customers for sustainability and efficiency.

How is Schneider using new technologies to increase efficiency and sustainability?

Over 70% of our solutions, be it hardware, software, or services, are classed as green, in that they promote sustainable outcomes such as increased energy and water efficiency. We also offer sustainability consulting in the region to offer our customers a path to reach net-zero emissions. By 2025, we aim to increase the number of green products that we offer to 80%. Some of the most common sustainability and digitalization solutions we sell are around building energy efficiency, data center management, and IoT-based technologies for predictive maintenance and energy/operational gains. We have experienced first-hand many of the benefits of these solutions. In 2021, we were recognized by Corporate Knights as the most sustainable company in the world. When it comes to sustainability, we walk the walk, and we have committed to being sustainable as company and be carbon neutral in all our operations by 2025 and hit net zero by 2030. We want to help our customers with their sustainability and digitalization challenges with our solutions, experiences, and expertise. On the energy side, more and more electrification and globally electricity will account for 40% of total energy consumption by 2040. It will not be different in Oman given the growth of Oman’s cities and the increased need to invest in transportation. Oman is also looking to grow its industrial base, and this requires more energy. Our challenge today is how do we bring more power on tap whilst also decarbonizing the economy? This will require both renewables as well as more energy efficiency. At same time, advances in digital with IoT, big data, and AI can help us be more efficient and resilient. Overall, we see a world that will be more electric and digital, and all our new products and technologies are part of this change.

What attracts international companies like Schneider to the Omani energy market?

Schneider Electric has been in Oman for over three decades, and we began our direct operations 10 years ago. Oman has always been an important market for us when it comes to our business, given the size of the energy sector in the Sultanate. What is interesting for us is the opportunity in other sectors that are pursuing digitalization and sustainability. We are also seeing an energy transition in the energy sector, with a push for a faster energy transition and greater energy efficiency. I personally welcome the news that the country will begin phasing out water and electricity subsidies starting from January 2021. This decision was not an easy one to make, but it is a necessary one. Electricity residential tariffs have not changed since 1987. Electricity subsidies account for 5% of the state budget. This is not sustainable, and the government has had to take action as part of a wider initiative to be more financially prudent. Our technologies can help customers to bring this efficiency from design and construction to operation and maintenance.

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