Talking Energy: Mike Hughes (Schneider Electric)

ELN Editor Sumit Bose talks to Mike Hughes (Schneider Electric) in the latest edition of Talking Energy

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Cybersecurity is already a major issue for the energy sector.

That’s what Mike Hughes, UK & Ireland Zone President at Schneider Electric, told ELN Editor Sumit Bose in the latest Talking Energy interview.

He said the digital revolution, increased connectivity and a wealth of new data brings a great deal of benefits but also presents potential drawbacks which need to be managed.

The boss of the technology giant noted the advantages far outweigh the risks but said it was the responsibility of large companies and wider industry to help people get the benefits of technologies like the Internet of Things without being too exposed to security breaches.

He stressed products need to be specifically designed to be as secure as possible for the entire energy grid to be resilient to possible threats.

Another subject discussed was how one of electricity industry’s biggest challenges is not being as visible as it could be – Mr Hughes said while the public are now rapidly turning away from single-use plastics, energy use still remained largely invisible to large parts of the market.

He told ELN data and digitalisation can help make energy consumption more visible and can be used to show consumers that certain actions and behaviours will have an impact on energy use or emissions and in turn help them to make informed decisions.

He said: “What’s changing energy is this huge, increased awareness of where electricity comes from, how much of it is linked to this carbon reduction and environment topic, I think this is clearly what’s driving the whole debate.

“The level of public awareness has changed just tremendously, particularly in the last 10 or 15 years.”

Mr Hughes added that the belief that humans are inherently rational economic beings is a ‘fallacy’ and said many people need extra encouragement to take the opportunity to become more energy efficient and save energy.

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