ABB global CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer, 50, is on a mission to change the way the global leader in power to automation does business. India is the largest engineering hub for ABB worldwide, with about 4,000 engineers and will play a key role in its future, he said in an interview to ET. Those employees include the 1,200 in its R&D centre, which ABB plans to leverage to tap markets in Africa and elsewhere for affordable micro power grids, locomotive technology and other segments, the German national said on a day in which the ABB India stock surged 20% before ending at Rs 1,315.05, up 13%. Spiesshofer, who is changing the organisational structure in ABB, is eyeing opportunities in India in locomotives and renewables as the country looks to modernise its electricity network and put in place infrastructure for smart cities. Edited excerpts: On India Expectations There is a very large and strong home market. There are some underlying dynamics both in the power and automation side of our business which will allow us to participate in the market very strongly and I see India\'s role as an export hub. It will grow into the next level in the next couple of years. So altogether India deserves a lot of attention from our side.
On Opportunities In Power ABB is into power and automation. There is a big shift that\'s happening in the generation side. In the future, one can expect much more activity from the renewables generation side. ABB has the strongest offering in solar energy. We\'ll continue to invest there. We\'ve localised some of the activities and we\'re ideally placed in the segment. In the utilities space, we need to bring power to the consumption side. Renewables mean longer distances. We need to have low loss, higher distribution. Look at the consumption side of it.
Over 300 million Indians are without access to electricity. There are two options to reach electricity to them. It can be either through the conventional way or through micro-grids where you can take solar or wind energy and combine them with storage and distribute them. We are driving it very aggressively. If you take agriculture, most countries consume about 2% of the electricity that is generated. In India, agriculture consumes more than 20%. This is only because of very inefficient irrigation systems. We have developed solar pumps in India, where we have solar panels and water pumps that exist close to each other and then you engage in irrigation in a much more responsible way. So for me, the utility sector, the electricity value chains are opportunities that are very demanding. Another emerging opportunity is in the transportation and infrastructure space. The government is talking about setting up more than 100 smart cities. There is a lot of investment in transport.