Schneider Electric advances on digitization with new LatAm contracts

French industrial solutions group Schneider Electric is advancing on digitization, automation and energy transition supply in Latin America with new investments and contracts signed with energy, power, mining and datacenter companies.

Contracts with Brazilian power groups Cemig and Energisa were formalized during the company’s Innovation Summit in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, this week. 

Schneider has also signed contracts with cloud companies and datacenter providers for automation, power management and cooling solutions.

“Web giants also have their own investments in their own proprietary datacenters. Google is strong in Chile and Brazil, AWS in Brazil, and now entering Chile. These are mega datacenters, bigger than those of hyperscalers,” Sebastian Brunno, South American VP of Schneider Electric’s Secure Power division, told BNamericas on the sidelines of the event.

The Secure Power division powers cloud service providers, colocation companies and web giants, and competes with the likes of Vertiv, Rockwell Automation and ABB.

Fueled by large investments made in datacenters in Brazil, Chile and Colombia, the systems segment line was the one that grew the most for Schneider within the Secure Power unit in the last three years in the region, according to Brunno.

Schneider Electric considers as hyperscalers Equinix, Scala, Odata, Nabiax and Cirion.

On the civil construction front, opportunities abound for green buildings in South America. 

Schneider Electric estimates that only 10% of South American buildings have building management systems (BMS) in place and only 2% use data for analysis and productivity.

Further north, the company is also ramping up its investments in Mexico, mostly to serve the North American market in a nearshoring format.

Recently, Schneider Electric announced 1.3bn pesos (US$73.8mn) in Mexican investments for 2023-24.

The funds will be allocated to plants in Tlaxcala, Nuevo León and Mexico City to encourage the efficient use of energy through new technologies and policies to address climate change.


Beyond datacenters and buildings, power companies are driving Schneider Electric’s business.

As reported by BNamericas, the contract with Cemig runs until 2026 and involves the deployment of an ADMS (advanced distribution management systems), and related modules, for the company’s distribution operation. 

Cemig provides services to 9.5mn clients in Minas Gerais state. The project is already underway.

“Next year, we’ll start operating [the ADMS] in the high voltage system, which is the backbone of this entire process. The main deliveries start to take place at the turn of 2024 to 2025,” Cemig CIO Luis Villani told BNamericas.

Schneider was also hired as ADMS provider for Energisa, which lists over 8.4mn clients in its distribution segment in the country.

Energisa’s total portfolio encompasses nine distribution companies and 12 transmission concessions, totaling 20mn customers in 862 municipalities in all Brazil’s regions.

“Before adopting this system, we carried out an R&D project in partnership with [power regulator] Aneel to understand what the operation of a distribution company would be like in the future. Based on this, we understand that monitoring the entire network is one of the essential steps for us to be able to deliver an even higher quality service to our customers,” Energisa CTIO Gustavo Valfre said.

In addition to allowing operational unification and standardization, the ADMS for Energisa is powered with tools and technology for the analysis and monitoring of distribution systems.

The system will be implemented gradually until 2026 at the group’s nine distribution companies.

Energisa plans to invest 125mn reais (about US$25mn) in the project over the period. 

The amount includes system, datacenter infrastructure, equipment, implementation, training of Energisa’s employees and support.

Grupo Energisa launched in 2017 the Control Center of the Future initiative, whose main goal was to prepare the company’s distribution concessionaires for the energy transition under a 4D energy strategy: decarbonized, decentralized, diversified and digital.

In addition to Cemig and Energisa, Schneider also provides digitization and automation services and solutions for power holding Equatorial Energia in Brasil.

“More than offering technology, Schneider Electric entered into a partnership to support the digital transformation of the distributor’s entire operation,” said Marcos Mattias, head of Schneider Electric in Brazil.


Schneider also entered into a partnership with Brazil’s apprentice service Senai.

The company will support Senai’s professional training courses in 30 schools in 10 Brazilian states.

The goal is to train 74,000 people in five years in the areas of industrial electricity, building electricity, photovoltaics and electrostation installation.

In Brazil, Schneider claims to have trained more than 35,000 people since 2009 through partnerships with technical education institutes. The goal is to reach 123,000 by 2025. 

Worldwide, Schneider’s aim is to reach 1mn people trained, and have 10,000 instructors and 10,000 entrepreneurs supported by 2025.

Schneider posted revenues of 34bn euros (US$37.1bn) in 2022. In Q1, the group’s revenues hit 8.5bn euros, up 16% year-over-year.

In energy management, growth in South America was led by Argentina, “which benefited from price actions, while Brazil remained impacted by ongoing supply chain challenges and weaker residential markets,” the company said in its financial results.

Executive VP Manish Pant said during the event that over 64% of sales in South America come from partners. 

In Brazil, this rate is 68%. Partners and clients in Brazil include Metrum, IHM Stefanini, AMC Soluções de Energia, pulp and paper maker Luzville, Volga and Sempel Paineis Elétricos.

Globally, Schneider Electric operates 200 factories, of which 11 are considered smart, and 90 distribution centers (six of which are smart).

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