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Welcome to the industrial talk podcast with Scott Mackenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots.
And let's get all right. Once again, thank you very much for joining industrial talk. This is a platform, this industrial community as a platform we are industry because of you. We celebrate industry professionals all around the world because you deserve it. Because you're bold, you're brave, you dare greatly. you innovate, you solve problems, you're making people's lives better. And therefore you're making the world a better place. All right in the hot seat. We have Raphael Ozaki. He goes by Rafa, by the way he is the business unit CEO of United States grid, control America and Pacific, it's a lengthy title, but you go out to stack card on LinkedIn, you will not be disappointed. Let's get cracking. Yep. You will not find a nicer guy. He's a super nice guy. And we were at distributor deck. And we were supposed to connect that distributor deck but that just didn't pan out. He had a beetle and do some important stuff. But we were very fortunate to be able to do it over zoom. So we're pretty excited about that a couple of things. One, I've got some events coming up. And the events are, let me let me just sort of back this up. When I was going to school, I really wanted to, I wanted to learn calculus, I wanted to go right into calculus, I wanted to go directly there. But what I didn't do is I didn't do a good job at laying the foundation of understanding, you know, algebra. And so I got frustrated, I was very frustrated because I didn't understand calculus. So I had to make that Converse or make that decision, say, okay, Scott, bone up, go back, and really understand algebra really understand all of the things associated with math. And then therefore calculus was no problem. And we had a good time. And it was really enjoyable. Fast forward. And I find that we're in a similar situation, and maybe not companies that understand the utility market, but we're doing a state of utilities, state of oil and gas and state of manufacturing. I'm not going to say webinars, so I call them live podcasts. Because I believe that there's a lot of buzz, a lot of hype, a lot of information floating around out there. And I think that it's imperative to create some clarity, because I believe I get this quote from Stan, with RTI, a confused mind doesn't make a decision. And so I want everybody to be successful, I want the utilities to be successful, I want the power producers to be successful. I want the grid to be stable and successful. I want oil and gas and so on and so forth. And and to do that, and to get buy in to get people to understand, we have to lay that foundation of the state of utilities, what are we doing? What is it about? Why are we doing it? And answer those questions. So we're going to have a panel of great guests to be able to answer those questions. But it's going to be from the perspective of creating understanding and I just go right into calculus, not go right into, you know, the The DERS and all the stuff that's associated with that side of the utilities. So we're gonna go right into that. I'm going now put these on your calendars. This is sort of shifting gears now. But this on your calendars. I am going to be broadcasting from IMTS and that is in Chicago and I believe it is September 12 through the 17th if you're in the manufacturing world, you got to you got to hook me Yup, but because I would be more than happy to interview you, we're gonna be having a great location. At that event, it's massive, absolutely massive, if you're in the manufacturing world must attend an event, and also going to another event. And that would be, and I don't have it right in front of me, but I'll have it out there on industrial talk. And that's going to be in Houston. And it's the same thing. It's going to be around manufacturing. So those are two events that I highly recommend that you put on. And I'm going to be once again on site. Let's have a conversation. Let's have fun. Let's help people understand what is going on. All right. So go out. And let me let me just sort of look at his stack card right here.
Raphael, Ozaki is his last name, reach out to him. And we're talking about the grid modernization, me being an old utility linemen, and utility guy and negotiated power purchase agreements and all of the good stuff associated with that and did the regulatory stuff. This is an interesting conversation. And it's, it's got some challenges and it is if I put my utility hat on, I need trusted Sherpas to be able to help with this journey because it's, it's challenging, and and you'll get a sense that Robert knows what's going on and many at Siemens understand what is going on. So this is going to be a great conversation. So hang tight, take notes, and enjoy the conversation with Rafa. Rafael, welcome to industrial talk. Thank you very much for looping back, you were at detec You were going to go talk there but you got busy because it was really a good opportunity and good experience for for you, Siemens and the team Siemens, and now we're talking virtually because we can do that.
Through that's your one of the advantages of remote work, isn't it, Scott? So thanks for having me. Thanks for the opportunity to to talk here today. Yes, did that can mean you mentioned that was a great fair. We have I have personally seen our goose so busy in a while, right. And not only due to the No, but also due to the immense you know, attention that we got pitching, you know, Siemens with software, this time in the US was really a cool event. Tons of good discussions with partners with analysts with customers was was a great time was a great time. I hope you enjoy it as well. Oh,
I had a fabulous time and it it's right in my wheelhouse. So crotchety journeyman lineman myself i i was a kid in a candy store, the thing that was really spectacular on my side in my little you know, gray matter was how significantly different the utility the energy market has changed it is it is super dynamic, super fast changes that are coming in waves of tsunamis. And and I can only be thankful for companies like Siemens and and others that are navigating these waters because digital transformation is happening. And I think the masses, I realized I don't realize what's coming down the turnpike. That's before we get into that conversation about grid modernization. Let's set the tone. Give us a little background, Raphael about who you are and what you're all about.
Yeah, awesome. No do that Scott. So Raphael was like a gold by Rafa who knows me. So I have been in this industry for around 15 years, Scott and fireflies started my career down in Brazil, Latin America as a protection and control engineer fell in love about managing an organization was given the opportunity to had our energy and automation business unit down there. Move to headquarters. So Siemens being a German company, I was leaving in Germany for around four and a half years, and billing with the more strategic side of the house. And then was given the opportunity to come here to the US and lead our Siemens which software unit for the US and Mexico represent our metering business here in the US, and also had to work with control side of the business for the Americas and the Pacific regions. It has been quite a journey. I mean, I still call you've seen a lot of changes. Yeah, a lot of changes changes
like I it's, you know, my my thinking has always been very linear when it comes to utilities. It's like generation, transmission substation, and so on down to me consumer of power. That's it. And it was a one way journey linear but that's not the case nowadays. And when we start talking about grid modernization, yeah, as it's happening, you explained for the listeners, what is just one grid? What's it today? Where do you see it going?
Yeah, no, the points go out. And it's fascinating, right, we started the conversation mentioning how much change is happening right now. And the most basic change, I would say, is the change of the energy flow, of course, right? There's might be really well educated already, in how the generation Meeks is changing from big power plants flowing energy down the transmission lines, getting to US consumers, to a way more dynamic energy mix that now considers these buzzword called de RS distributed energy resources being those solar panels, wind farms, storage, utility, large scale, feeding energy, right dispatching energy distribution level off the grid, and imagine yourself now sitting on a grid operator role, trying to manage reliability and resilience with this flow now completely multi directional, right? It's not an easy task, Italian, and utilities are currently facing unprecedented change, you know, what, how they keep things going, right, as we used to see. But again, keeping reliability, resiliency, and quality of energy is the main point of consumption, right?
And utilities are driven by majority of them, and maybe some utility or differently, some co ops would be different but but really driven by the rate case, this is what our rate of return is, this is what we're supposed to do this is, and it's still, there still are governed by that relationship with states in the state entities of how to deliver power. And reliably, because everybody is driven by that. It's like, yeah, when I come into a room, I'm going to flip the switch, boom, I'm good to go. And that was those tenants of deliverable service are still there. But when we start talking about grid modernization, we're talking about putting a little pressure on those, you know, those tenants of service delivery? How do we do that? How do we how do we transition into this brave new world of grid modernization and ensure that me, Joe Sixpack flips on the switch and watching my TV? You know, sexually? Yeah,
yeah, that's a nice way to put it glad. And I would say it's not a one single stakeholder here that can make that change and make the difference, the ecosystem has to coordinate itself. And here, I'm talking about policymakers, regulators, vendors, utilities, in the end of the day, and then as consumers, right, being residential, or, you know, commercial, concerned, consumers in the end of the day is God, what is key here to make that transition happen? He's alignment, right. And understanding that we are after a purpose here, to really combat climate change, and the energy sector has to give its contribution, right? It's clear that it's not going to be overnight change, and everything will keep, you know, providing or delivering energy to you. So you can flip the switch and notice no change. That is the ultimate goal. But at the end of the day, it's a combined and collective effort and really gets down to defining the priorities on asset level, what has to be changed on a substation level on a power plant level. After that, I mean, of course, technology needs to advance in a way how you plan how you maintain your grid and how you operate your grid. And here is where we believe we can help utilities make the trick, you know, or do the trick. We ng seems good software, we offer consulting and a software suite that follows clear design principles are open, we are modular, we are flexible. We believe that we cannot do this change alone. So partnerships are completely in the trenches with us to really address several different use cases got everything now gets way more complex as we were alluding to. So you got to plan your enhancements in the grid way more in advance and way more precise than before, right? You've got to also operate in real time considering those effects in the different energy mix, populating a grid right and near real time, right. So connecting metering with the control room, it's another use case that we are a strong believer to, that can help utilities navigate this complexity. And at the end of the day, also how you engine year to grid, so how your coordinate settings to protect all the assets in the grid is another area of attention that will help deal with the view, you know, flow of energy to help utilities deliver the energy and quality and reliably to almost filmer. So, it's a lot going on
it is and first thing that comes to my mind is how I'm a utility, how do I prioritize? Where do I go? And you brought up a number of really incredible points. The thing that I always gravitate to, is that here's a system, the system has grown, but but the general design has not changed over 100 years, right? It's Yes, yep. And that is the existing asset base that exists today. Now, we're trying to take that, that design that model, and be able to, to modify it to accommodate a lot of these conversations and a lot of this technology, the the area that I can think of is money. I mean, utility, money, I've got to prioritize? Yes, I'm talking about it. And in my neighboring utility is in a different position that I am. And I you know, and do you how do we, it's going to happen, I just the baseline, it's happening, whether we like it or not. It's, it's I see the utilities are sort of the driver of the adoption. And that's speed, right? You can do some faster. So it's sort of this. So how do we how do we begin that journey? I just,
yeah, there is not a single recipe to be honest, Scott, and I think depends a lot on the specific utility environment, you know, so we looking at the US, but that trend actually happens worldwide, right? I mean, you have spots where the DRS potential for clean energy generation, it's heavier than others. And you see way more incentives going on also to build those assets. So when utility operating in that geography would be today already facing enormous challenges to keep reliability and dispatch from those clean energy assets, along with the existing traditional ones. So they're the challenge would be, how can I prioritize, you know, controllability overdose assets. So I can optimize and increase usage of clean resources versus you know, carbon was right. And that would be leading to an application or the software space called therms. Right distribution energy or distributed energy resources management system, that would be an immediate need for an utility residing that area. If you go in other deals, right, you may face weather inclement events happening, often enough for those consumers to lose power, you know, in outages that are difficult to predict. So they're the challenge would be how can I increase resilience, right, by designing my grid differently. So applying again, clean energy resources, but designing the grid over micro grids or mini grids. So even though I lose, you know, my main source of power, the community, the main critical assets in that region would be steel suppliers, you know, and given a certain range who operate by itself. So it depends a lot on the need. The reality is everyone is thinking about reaching that goal, you know, of contributing to the climate change impact, and the energy grid. It's a key, you know, backbone to really make the electrification happen. Right. So it really depends on like, he was glad.
Yeah, it is. It's got to be a case by case because I look at I Know, Southern California Edison is connected to and wherever connected to PGE, San Diego, there, everybody's sort of in, across outside of ERCOT. Everybody's connected in some way, shape, or form. And that dependency is is vital, and it's a part of delivering solutions. If I'm a utility that tends to be a little bit more aggressive in this transition. Do I come out of sync with with our utility that's just not there yet. That is there are some interesting dynamics that exist there.
Yeah, it's fascinating to see how that interconnection works and utilities are talking to each other. And they see more and more that happening is God. Fairs and conferences like deep Tech, we mentioned that in the beginning of the talk. It's, for instance, a platform, you know, for utilities to exchange. Right. What we are also doing is, since we have tremendous installed base or in utilities right now,
yeah, Siemens, right, my toe on a couple of Siemens.
20:34ad to need, we have more than:
of my passions. I love the passion to collaborate. I, I think that that that is a recipe at least foundationally for success. And we have to succeed at this at the rate of things and the array of things that are changing so dramatically. That's, that's, that's key you got you got to be sort of, I understand their secret sauce is in any company. But for the most part, I think there has to be this open book approach to collectively solve the challenges and and a bright future. Don't get me wrong. See how bright that's an electric. Future? Hey, here's a question I have for you. And it's the adoption of EVs. Right? Yep, they're happening. And it's happening at a pretty dramatic pace. And yet, the reality is, is I'm taking that, Evie, plugging it into the grid. That's great. I'm Holan. Let's say I'm charging. Yeah, there's a rate. And here's this sort of semi static grid. That doesn't change much. And yet, here's this rate of demand, being driven by these EVs. How do you how do we even address that?
Yeah, it's really a tough one, Scott, because the trend is coming. Right? Again, we are here seen another, you know, complex load in generation acid being attached to the distribution level of the grid. Yeah. In the area, that was not been, I would say, Ed fans to know in terms of enhancements in digitalization, as well as visibility, that merge and not long ago. So everything starts with preparing and coordinating that avalanche of, you know, new loads that will come up really tightly together between the administration of those charging points with whoever is providing energy, right. And it's, it's not an easy answer, again, we may not see as one recipe of success. But one thing I can tell you, I mean, whenever we see, you know, the point of consumption and delivery, talking to each other, and coordinating that, to plan in advance how much load we're talking about, and which points by which time you expect peak loads to be charged, you know, and at which power level the success is reached, you know, so you can prepare, the utility will be way more advanced, you know, and prepare themselves for that additional load. And whoever is managing that charging point will also benefit by having, you know, a clean installation and staging so the end users will benefit as well in the end of the chain, you know, so it requires also it's got if I may add on that not only Physical investments to enhance the grid and copper and wires, but also require what we're strong believers. He incredible advanced, you know, software landscape to manage that complexity, that it's not there yet, right? I used to talk to many, you know, VPs of transmission distribution and utilities here in the US and we are often in touch. And from one specifically, I heard that that she would reach reliability, energy delivery, you first need to think about two other abilities. You know, the first one is visibility, that leads you to controllability. And with controllability, you can ensure reliability. So those are the three abilities you
define. I got the controllability, what's the visible visibility? What is that ability?
Right? What's going on needs the ferry for you two sides, controllability level, right? Not for you you have controllability of to a certain degree, then you can, you know, take actions in advance to ensure reliability in the energy delivery. Right. Yeah.
It was interesting. Back when I was climbing towers, there were always conversations about re conducting, right? Yeah, bundle, whatever is necessary, because the demand is increasing. We can push more through whatever it might be. Those those realities of the grid rarely happened because there are so many hurdles to do that right. Yeah, they're just and now we're now we're just it's a whole nother whole nother equation out there that requires Yep, probably some increase capacity on certain transmit, but then maybe not over. Whatever the distribution, here's some old so what are we and the whole, you know, the conversation is so dynamic, it begs the question to with all of that you guys, you know, you gather around the water cooler, you talk about this, you understand the use cases that are being bantered back and forth. But then there's this education component that exists or culture within these utilities. And yeah, that has to be addressed. Because they have to. Yeah,
absolutely. I mean, it's one of the main points actually squat that we have been discussing in I triple E. So I see it in the Executive Advisory Board of I triple E, along with other fellows, you know, for all from the industry. And we have been discussing a chapter there on workforce management, especially on this huge set of our teams, right being on the vendor side, or on the utility side, how can we ensure that people are comfortable, you know, with the challenge it first so we can collectively get together and prioritize as we were discussing? What has to be done next? First, second, and third, you know, and and it's a reality, it's not a change, again, that will happen overnight. I think the awareness is now getting to a level that it's increasing action, you know, to, from the universities to, you know, trainings on company and utility level to ensure you know, refreshment is, is there and that ecosystem starts operating with the same direction, you know, it's going to be it's going to be still some time until we get there. But we are also facing Scott a lot of transition to Agile methodologies to develop innovation and to deploy innovation. To accelerate that change, you know, so we used to talk about very, you know, long cycles to stage a simple SCADA, you know, your ability to control from a control room, a very small territory, right. Now, you are talking about, you know, a way faster pace to deploy technologies like that, using Agile methodology. So, I am a big fan of it, the big believer that these will also help with the workforce skill
set the sea and organizations like I Tripoli, they're even going through and we need, we need standards, right? We just, it's just a reality. We need standards, we, we need that sort of governing type of structure that is around this journey. And even organizations like I Tripoli and others. They're going through a cultural change because they're realizing we normally did it this way and you brought it up from an agile perspective. This is the way we normally do everything. Hang on. It's, it's pretty pragmatic. Yeah. You know, you're, you're inserting agile methodologies and it's like, even they are going through some interesting challenge. Yes,
it is. It's true. It's true. It's glad everyone is being affected by the pace of change. And I think everyone is now acknowledging that the base from before is not acceptable anymore. Right. And again, I think what motivates people in the end is the purpose right? It's like the purpose of the broom is not the broom it's a clean floor. Right? And we are all here not delivering suffer. You're here thinking about what the impact of the you know digitalized component in these energy transition can help us combat climate change for instance, right. Yeah, in many other purposes. So it's yeah, it's it's
don't see it ending anytime soon. I'm telling you right now. Because people like you and others are, are coming up with new use case applications. Hey, check this out. We've got this technology with this technology. Now. We create a new use case. Let's run with that one. And it's it's good and bad all at once. We're gonna have to wrap it up my friend. How do people get a hold of Rafi Rafi or Rafa? Rafa, Rafa, Hey, I gotta wrap up. I need to get a hold of you.
Well, I mean, seen as good softer. Yeah, so it represents the good stuff they're getting to us, Maxie cool, man. You can reach out to me via email, for instance. email@example.com. And, of course, it means we have a whole team here in the US that will be supporting whoever would like to understand more evolve how we can contribute to the energy transition. So that would be the way the best way to reach out to your knees. But gosh, I like it.
I really love this conversation Rafa. All right. Rafa’s. His name Siemens is the company grid modernization. Everything in between was the topic. Excellent job. I enjoyed this immensely. It's like a nice warm cup of coffee in the morning. Yeah, you see, there it is. Right there. Alright listeners if you're not, we're going to have all the conference contact information for Rafa at industrial talk.com. So do not go away. We will be right back.
You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network.
All right, thank you very much for joining. Once again, industrial talk this platform remember it is dedicated to you industrial professionals all around the world. We have to be able to educate, collaborate, and of course, innovate. And that's what Rafa and Team Siemens bring to the table. They are they they want to educate, they want to collaborate, and definitely, they are innovating. And we need that going forward. If you have a passion for a resilient business, you're going to have to find trusted individuals that help you with that journey. We do not have all of the answers. But we're going to sure make industrial talk a platform, an ecosystem, an ever expanding ecosystem of industrial problem solvers and individuals that truly want to help. So that's what industrial talk is all about. All right, be bold, be brave, daring greatly. Thank you again for joining, hanging out with people like Rafa and you're going to change the world. We're going to have another great conversation shortly. So stay tuned.