A technology leader in the power generation sector officially has a new name today, as the former Hitachi ABB Power Grids is now Hitachi Energy.
The rebranding, announced during the summer and taking effect Oct. 13, is the latest move by a joint venture formed in the summer of 2020 when Hitachi and ABB closed their deal to launch Hitachi ABB Power Grids.
Claudio Facchin, CEO of Hitachi Energy, in a statement Wednesday from the company’s headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, said the rapid transformation of power generation and the energy sector as a whole is changing his group’s mission.
“At Hitachi Energy, we are championing the urgency of a clean energy transition, through innovation and collaboration. There are many pathways toward a carbon-neutral future—to tackle this global challenge, we nurture diverse global teams bringing authentic passion and enduring ownership,” he said. “By 2050, global electrification will near‐double in demand and electricity will be the backbone of the entire energy system. At Hitachi Energy we have pioneered many of the technologies needed for advancing a sustainable energy future for all—and we are committed to continue pushing the boundaries of innovation. Delivering on the promise of a carbon-neutral future will take passion, trust and innovation—and the benefits will be for our generations and those to come. With our new name—Hitachi Energy—we are broadening our commitment to creating real impact for our customers and partners, our people and society.”
‘Rapidly Evolving Energy Landscape’
The company Wednesday in a news release said the new name “reflects the rapidly evolving energy landscape and the opportunity to create economic, environmental and social value. The brand name enables the business to effectively position its pioneering technologies and services to existing and future customers expanding beyond the grid—opening up a breadth of opportunities in areas such as sustainable mobility and smart life.”
“As the world of energy continues to evolve, so do we. Hitachi Energy is at the forefront of sustainable energy innovation,” Anthony Allard, executive vice president and head of North America, Hitachi Energy, told POWER. “We believe that we are in a transition that will see electricity become the backbone of the entire energy system, facilitated by a shift away from fossil fuels toward more renewable energy sources. We have already expanded our energy market reach and portfolio into new areas beyond the grid, such as offshore wind. This is a market where we have been making significant inroads serving renewable energy developers.
“Of course we also remain fully committed to being the partner of choice for grid customers,” Allard said. “The grid has a critical role to play in getting the renewable energy that is being developed from where it is generated, often in remote, rural locations, to the load centers where it is needed. As a result, we see a great need for significant investment in transmission and we are seeing substantial demand for technologies to support it, such as HVDC [high-voltage direct current].”
Hitachi Energy in its announcement today also noted that a carbon-neutral energy system will be highly interconnected, with HDVC technology a key enabler to integrate renewable energy resources to the power grid, as Allard noted. Hitachi is developing many of these interconnections, including the recently announced award of the Saudi Arabia—Egypt HVDC interconnector—the first large-scale interconnector in the Middle East and North Africa—and the start of operation of the North Sea Link, which at 720 kilometers is the world’s longest subsea interconnector linking Norway and the UK, enabling the exchange of renewable energy between the countries.
Discussion of Energy Technologies
Facchin today is hosting a dialogue with Steven Chu, who served as head of the U.S. Department of Energy from 2009 to 2013, as part of Hitachi Energy’s “go live” celebrations. The discussion also will include Lully Miura, a Japanese scholar of international politics and a member of the Growth Strategy Committee of the Cabinet Office of Japan. The session, titled “Energy technologies and innovations that contribute to a carbon-neutral future,” will be streamed from the Hitachi Social Innovation Forum 2021 JAPAN. The meeting will focus on “how to realize the ambitious net-zero targets that many countries have committed to and how Hitachi and Hitachi Energy are contributing to establishing a society that is more sustainable, flexible, and secure,” according to a Hitachi news release.
Hitachi earlier this year launched its Sustainability 2030 initiative, part of the company’s move to be a carbon-neutral business. Hitachi Energy has announced it expects to use 100% fossil-free electricity in its own operations by next year.
“There also is a breadth of opportunities where we can contribute our competence, expertise, and solutions,” Allard said. “One area is sustainable mobility. Shifting toward widespread adoption of electric vehicles [EVs] is critical to efforts to combat climate change. To support this, we are working with utilities to prepare their grids for the increased demand for electricity anticipated with rapid EV adoption. We also have developed a unique solution specifically geared toward supporting the large-scale charging needs of operators of fleets, such as municipal buses, delivery and maintenance vehicles, etc., called Grid-eMotion Fleet. We see this particular set of customers moving more quickly to adopt EVs than consumers because of the rapid return on investment for fleet vehicles.”
Grid Edge Solutions
Part of Hitachi Energy’s focus will be on supporting customers with grid edge solutions, including microgrids and energy storage. The company on Wednesday highlighted an installation in Cordova, Alaska, previously featured by POWER, where Hitachi helped design a battery energy storage system to provide power for the fishing village.
Facchin also noted the importance of digitization of the power sector, what his group considers “critical for overcoming the complexity and capacity challenges brought about by the larger volumes of variable renewable energy being integrated into the world’s energy system.” The company’s Lumada Asset Performance Management system combines advanced digital solutions and services to provide “health and performance insights to prevent critical asset failures while optimizing asset lifecycle costs,” and also “enables customers to leverage online and offline data to drive more intelligent, risk-based approaches to asset management.”
The business earlier this year launched its EconiQ product, a portfolio designed to improve the environmental performance of the grid and power equipment. It also recently launched transformer products designed for use in floating offshore wind projects.
—Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).