Taking Hitachi ABB Power Grids onto the world energy stage
Hiroaki Nakanishi, the Chairman of Hitachi and Claudio Facchin, CEO Hitachi ABB Power Grids, were among a select group of business representatives invited to speak at the Clean Energy Transitions Summit, hosted by the International Energy Agency (IEA) on July 9. The forum was attended by Energy Ministers from around 40 countries, jointly representing around 80% of global energy consumption and carbon emissions. The countries represented by the high-level policy makers included among several others, the US, China, India, UK, Canada, Japan, several Asian, South American and European countries and the European Union (EU). The Secretary-General of the United Nations also addressed the forum and other key attendees included the Business and Energy Minister for the UK, who is also President of the upcoming COP26 as well as the Presidents of the Asian Development Bank and the World Economic Forum. The event was chaired by IEA Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol.
The virtual event was live streamed, with over 500,000 people logging in, making it the highest-profile energy and climate event in recent times and the first since the COVID-19 pandemic. The summit focused on how the world can ensure that global carbon dioxide emissions have peaked and to build momentum for a sustainable and resilient recovery from the crisis. In addition to the introductory and closing plenary sessions there were three breakout sessions focused on the key themes of accelerating clean energy technology innovation, bringing about an inclusive and equitable recovery, and building a resilient and sustainable electricity sector.
Many of the participants drew upon the findings from two recent IEA reports. The Sustainable Recovery Plan which sets out policy measures and targeted investments to boost global economic growth by 1.1% per year, save or create 9 million jobs per year, and put emissions into structural decline. Achieving these results would require global investment of USD 1 trillion annually over the next three years, much of which would be directed at modernising and strengthening electricity grids. The second report on Clean Energy Innovation assessed how technology innovation can be significantly accelerated today in order to make long-term climate and sustainable energy goals achievable.
Nakanishi-san spoke on the panel for building a resilient and sustainable electricity sector. He noted that the clean energy transition challenge is a global one, but solutions will have to take into account the specifics of regions and countries. He stressed that the newly formed Hitachi ABB Power Grids, with its global footprint and leading technology and market position was well placed to serve the needs of governments and customers around the world. Many participants in this panel recognised how indispensable electricity has been for citizens across the world during the crisis and underscored the historic opportunity to modernise and improve the capacity, sustainability, reliability and security of electricity systems with a diverse generation mix and higher flexibility to integrate larger shares of variable renewables. There was also strong support for the vital role that Interconnections and smarter grids will play in the energy transition. Nakanishi-san noted in his comments: “Every nation has into own environment for clean energy, but they share one common goal - to increase the contribution to clean electricity from renewables and contribute to this important mission of a sustainable energy transition. We will learn from our investors and potential customers about what is important to them from the viewpoint of sustainable and secure systems”.
Claudio addressed the session on accelerating clean energy technology innovation and highlighted the need for focused investment in power grids, to make them more flexible, resilient, efficient and reliable as they manage new supply and demand challenges. "We must ADAPT and ADOPT policies and regulations that enable the deployment of technology and facilitate new business models to support Secure (Strong), Sustainable (Green) and Scalable (Smart) Energy infrastructure such as power grids”, he added. He emphasized that most technologies required exist (e.g. HVDC connections, power quality, storage, grid-edge and digital solutions). This technology deployment will require closer cooperation and collaboration across stakeholders, sectors and geographies. Other common themes from this session were how to scale up critical emerging technologies like batteries, hydrogen, carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), and bioenergy and recognising that all of these technologies will play a role in the future diverse energy mix. Delegates were united in saying that bringing new technologies to the market and scaling them up in time would only be possible with clear governmental strategies.
The second panel was on how we can ensure an inclusive and equitable recovery and the required focus to ensure support for the most vulnerable groups of society to enjoy an inclusive and just transition. The other key focus of the panel was to drive a sustainable energy transition, keeping in mind decarbonization targets and to contain the looming threat of global warming through ‘green’ initiatives.
The summit came at a pivotal moment when the world faces urgent challenges to build back economies, create jobs and reduce global emissions. The event provided an outstanding platform to demonstrate that Hitachi ABB Power Grids is fully committed and well positioned to enable a sustainable energy future, with pioneering and digital technologies as the partner of choice for enabling a stronger, smarter and greener grid.