A Deep Dive into the Clean Energy Transition with Hitachi

With a continued focus on clean energy sources, Hitachi’s Alistair Dormer shares insights into the continued shift to a more sustainable future

Global investment in clean energy is at an all-time high. According to Energy Transition Investment Trends 2024, investment has grown 17% in the last year to US$1.77tn. 

It is clear that priority is being placed on clean energy in the US and worldwide. Hitachi for example, which supports the energy transition globally, has reported a 43% increase in revenue in energy and rail in the US, which is also a testament to the priority the country is putting on clean energy.

Hitachi’s Executive Vice President, Energy & Mobility and Chairman of Hitachi Energy, Alistair Dormer, is a driving force in supporting the worldwide shift towards clean energy. He boasts a wealth of experience across global electrification and details how High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) technology — which ease the moving of power — can accommodate the long-distance transfer of clean energy to enable a greener future for all.

In this exclusive sit-down interview with Energy Digital, Alistair shares how further priority is being placed on clean energy initiatives, how Hitachi supports the global shift towards clean energy and how it leverages its expertise to keep clean energy momentum rolling.

Prioritisation of clean energy initiatives

“As we came out of the pandemic, what we were seeing was that governments really needed to reinvigorate their economies across Europe and the United States,” Alister said. “In particular at that time, there were a lot of incentives and government money going in to boost the economy. But that focus actually was very much in terms of green energy and green mobility.”

Because of geopolitical issues such as the war in Ukraine, clean energy incentives have been turbocharged due to exponential price increases in gas, with renewables thrust further into the spotlight and the transformation of green energy prioritised. 

Alistair continues: “The grid in the US is not as robust as it is in Europe, and a lot of work has got to be done to start interconnecting and strengthening it. As we move more to an electric society — in order for industry to decarbonise, it needs to move away from fossil fuels— electricity being generated by clean means needs to move around much easier.”

This is where HVDC technology come in, which move more power further, efficiently integrate renewables, interconnect grids and improve network performance. 

To support this, Hitachi has projects where clean power is in abundance — like solar in Arizona and hydroelectric in Canada — and bringing it down to energy hungry areas like New York, showing a steady development in a strong pipeline of green projects.

And for Alistair, he sees his role and Hitachi as a whole continuing to support this transition, which shows no sign of slowing down.

“We are growing like crazy,” he said. Hitachi’s power grids business was purchased from ABB four years ago for US$10bn and, since, Hitachi has invested US$3bn and will continue to invest US$bn a year to expand to meet current and future demand.

He continued: “I've never seen anything like it. We were starting to talk about it as being a super cycle because investment in energy goes up and down historically, but what we're seeing now is a real transformation. 

“There is a recognition that clean and renewable energy is not only the right thing to do, but also it's affordable.”

Hiatchi walks the walk as well as talking the talk, and powers 40% of its business through its own renewable energy — a cheaper means than fossil fuels which prices are being driven up, especially in Europe, to be more expensive than renewables. Despite this, HVDC technology is boosting business, with increased project bids and customer engagement.

“Commitment between us and our customers will make this whole transition,” he said. “It's a super busy time for us.”

Leveraging a century of expertise for the green energy future

Leveraging its century-long experience, Hitachi continues to drive clean energy by responding to market demands and investing heavily in its continued expansion. With a commitment of US$1bn in this space over the next three years — 40% of which is allocated to the United States alone — Hitachi is ramping up its presence in key markets by establishing new transformer factories as well as extensive hiring, training and supply chain development efforts. 

More than 30,000 engineers are set to come aboard in the next few years, which will help Hitachi — and the clean energy as a whole — leap forward.

“We're now at the next stage and working out how to move forward,” he concluded. “The technology is there, that's the thing. We don't need to invent something new, the technology exists today. We've just got to build more of it.”


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