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Hitachi buys out ABB’s remaining stake in energy and power grids business


Japanese tech conglomerate Hitachi has bought the remaining 19.9% stake held in Hitachi Energy by ABB.

Hitachi Energy was formed as a joint venture (JV) between the two companies as Hitachi acquired 81.1% ownership of Switzerland-headquartered ABB’s power grids business in mid-2020. The JV was known as Hitachi ABB Power Grids until October last year, when it rebranded to reflect the new majority ownership.

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Hitachi Energy is involved in a broad range of power sector technologies and services, including high voltage DC (HVDC) transmission infrastructure, transformers, SCADA and control systems.

It also manufactures its own range of battery energy storage systems (BESS), called PowerStore, mostly aimed at the larger industrial and utility-scale applications. Powerstore is modular and can be configured for use with nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) battery cells from Samsung or lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cells from CATL.

Powerstore is designed to be used in a variety of regions as it is adaptable to different grid codes. The BESS is part of its Grid Edge Solutions portfolio, which also includes e-mobility equipment and other distributed energy resources (DERs) equipment, controlled and monitored by Hitachi’s digital software platform, E-Mesh.

The company announced on Friday that it has signed an agreement with ABB for the remaining shares, which had always been the plan. Hitachi said transfer of shares will be completed by the end of December.

“Electricity will be the backbone of the entire energy system and the urgency of the energy transition requires us to collaborate and innovate across stakeholders and sectors, and the good news is that we can act now,” Hitachi Energy CEO Claudio Facchin, who is also a senior VP and executive officer at Hitachi, said.

“Hitachi and Hitachi Energy have been generating synergies by combining digital and energy technologies that are contributing to the global energy transition.”

Hitachi Energy-supplied solar-plus-storage project opens at Canadian water treatment plant

In related news, a solar PV plant at a water treatment facility in Alberta, Canada, went online at the end of September, equipped with a Hitachi Energy BESS.

Edmonton-headquartered water and energy services company EPCOR held the power plant’s grand opening on 20 September, at EL Smith Water Treatment Plant in the city of Edmonton. The water treatment plant serves about two-thirds of drinking water consumed in Edmonton and 65 nearby communities, pumping around 250 million litres of water every day.   

The site’s 13.6MW solar PV array is paired with a 4MW/8.9MWh BESS in a behind-the-meter microgrid. If energy production exceeds requirements at the water treatment plant, it can be exported to the grid.

Named kīsikāw pīsim, which means ‘daylight sun’ in the local Enoch Cree Nation language, the project is one of Hitachi Energy’s first to combine batteries with solar PV, with most of the company’s projects to date having been standalone BESS.

Other battery projects it is currently working on include the first grid-scale BESS in Australia’s Northern Territory, which began construction in late August-early September, and an EPC contract to work on a 20MW/20MWh BESS in the Philippines with Philippine power company Aboitiz Power and renewables developer Scatec.

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