November 11, 2022
Schneider Electric along with Footprint Project have announced their work to develop and deploy mobile, cloud-connected microgrids for disaster relief was named to TIME’s List of Best Inventions of 2022 which features “200 extraordinary innovations changing our lives.”
In the wake of extreme weather disasters, the collective teams developed rapidly deployable clean energy microgrids for impacted communities which were recognized in the Green Energy category on TIME’s list. Together, the organizations developed a new way to bring power to disaster sites with digital solutions, powered by Microsoft Azure, that provide real-time visibility, allowing sites to optimize their functions with data, energy distribution and management from day zero. More than 20 community resilience sites were supported by mobile solar generators which provided 100kW+ of solar PV and 350kWh+ of storage serving over 8,000 citizens. These microgrids helped activate community kitchens distributing meals, support laptops and WiFi to set up and process FEMA paperwork, and power low-income housing facilities for senior citizens.
“When disasters such as hurricanes or wildfires occur, often resulting or exacerbated by our changing climate, the traditional response has been to mobilize diesel generators–which is analogous to fighting fire with fire,” said Samantha Childress, Solutions Architect Manager, Microgrids North America, at Schneider Electric. “We’re incredibly honored to receive this recognition from TIME for our collective work with the dedicated and innovative teams at Footprint Project and Microsoft to develop an energy system that delivers clean and reliable energy for communities that are significantly hamstrung in disaster events.”
Through Schneider Electric’s partnership with Footprint Project, the organizations aim to build communities back greener to foster long-term resilient solutions and provide relief to those reeling from the unexpected. Due to the severity of Hurricane Ida, many impacted Louisiana communities went extended periods of time without power. There was an increased urgency to ensure these energy sources could be optimized to have lasting impact. The microgrids leverage smart inverters, no longer requiring a person on-site at all times to ensure operational function. Collectively the organizations can scale microgrid fleets’ abilities to reach more communities in need.
Will Heegaard, Operations Director for Footprint Project said, “Footprint Project, in partnership with Schneider Electric and Microsoft, is deeply honored to receive this award. As climate disasters increase in frequency, severity and scale, mobile solar microgrids are essential to ensuring equitable access to electricity while reducing the carbon footprint of humanitarian relief. The ability to monitor our fleet remotely, collect key data to enhance the system’s performance, and alert our field teams to maintenance needs, is all vital to effectively deploy cleaner energy for communities in crisis. As we strive to build community resilience through energy empowerment, we’re so grateful for this recognition!”
“We partner with the most innovative companies to bring together connected edge devices and IoT solutions with the power of the Microsoft cloud. We are proud of Microsoft partner Schneider Electric and their work helping communities in Louisiana affected by hurricane Ida. By combining our technology with our deep ecosystem partnerships, we can accelerate our collective impact and our ability to respond, recover and reimagine our shared future together,” says Lakecia Gunter, Vice president, WW Device Partner Solution Sales, Microsoft.
The driving force behind Schneider Electric’s collective work with Footprint Project and Azure is the critical need and goal of helping those in immediate need in disaster situations. Through donations, volunteers, equipment and expert advice, Schneider Electric enables Footprint Project to provide equitable access to electricity in critical situations. Their work continues to expand to mobilize in new areas and reach more people when disaster strikes.
To compile the list, TIME solicited nominations from TIME’s editors and correspondents around the world, and through an online application process, paying special attention to growing fields—such as the electric vehicle industry, green energy, and the metaverse. TIME then evaluated each contender on a number of key factors, including originality, efficacy, ambition, and impact.
Of the new list, TIME’s editors write:
“The result is a list of 200 groundbreaking inventions (and 50 special mention inventions)—including life-mapping artificial intelligence, diamonds made from excess carbon in the air, and the most powerful telescope ever—that are changing how we live, work, play, and think about what’s possible.”
See the full list here: time.com/best-inventions-2022