Hitachi ABB Power upbeat on energy transition in India

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on March 25, 2021

Venu Nuguri, Managing Director-India and Regional Head-South Asia, Hitachi ABB Power Grids.

We expect to see huge investments in networks: India head Venu Nuguri

Hitachi ABB Power Grids is upbeat on energy transition solutions in India as the country works towards massive renewable energy integration, sustainability and decarbonisation. Venu Nuguri, Managing Director-India and Regional Head-South Asia, Hitachi ABB Power Grids, said, “We are deeply entrenched in the Indian market with six decades of innovation. Our 16 manufacturing units are backed by cutting-edge research and technology, making Hitachi ABB Power Grids in India, a key supplier for businesses housed in countries across the world. Over 80 per cent of our portfolio today is locally manufactured.” Excerpts from an interview with BusinessLine.

How has the merger of the two big companies, Hitachi and ABB, been?

We are founded on two iconic companies — Hitachi and ABB — with a combined heritage of almost 250 years in pioneering technologies. We are a $10-billion business in volume, employing about 36,000 people in 90 countries. Our customers benefit from our extensive global footprint and scale — where we have the largest installed base and capabilities to deliver a very local service, underpinned by a global network.”

How will Hitachi ABB address the future of sustainable energy?

Our HVDC power transmission technology is helping bring power to millions in India by combining renewable energy sources. Half of all HDVC links in India are commissioned by us. We are actively supporting the government’s target of 450 GW energy by 2030 through grid automation and modernisation.

We are sitting on the tip of the iceberg. Once market attains some normalcy, we see numerous opportunities spurred by the country’s focus on building local manufacturing capability and strengthening local ecosystems. These include: power transmission, rail, metro, e-mobility, renewable integration and datacenters. We are betting big on India’s energy transition and expect to see huge investments.

Power grids are set to change significantly in the future. How do you see this transformation?

The grid of the future will be driven by an increase in demand for electricity coupled with improvements in technology contributing to energy efficiency. Electrical transportation will proliferate in the form of electric trains and EVs (cars, buses, and trucks) contributing to the need for a resilient and efficient grid. This will require modernisation. AI-enabled power products and systems will improve operational performance, enable integrated planning and support a higher degree of customer engagement.

How do you see Hitachi ABB addressing the grid challenges?

The power industry in India faces significant challenges in achieving grid parity. Successful integration of variable energy resources will present opportunities to achieve the same while also contributing to a cleaner environment. Users will demand even more reliability from electric power delivery in the future, including resilience during major weather or security events. Tariffs based purely on energy sales will rapidly diminish. Traditional utilities will transform into electricity providers that deliver services, such as in-stalling distributed resources, aggregating customers who participate in the wholesale electric markets, and arranging for backup energy on demand. Soon, electricity will become the backbone of the entire energy system.

The path towards carbon-neutrality has one common denominator: it is built on much more electrification, achieved via accelerated shift from fossil-based towards renewable power generation, growing electrification of transportation — such as for EVs, of industry — for process conversion, and of buildings — for cooling.

India is the third largest consumer of energy and is striving for more smart cities and reliable power for all with a larger share of green energy — renewable energy target of 220 GW by 2022 and around 500 GW by 2030. This necessitates the adoption of smart digital and energy solutions to manage the unpredictability associated with renewable energy and risks of grid instability.

What are your plans for the electric mobility ecosystem?

There are around 2 million buses on Indian roads, each emitting 48 tonnes of CO2 per year on average — amounting to 100 million tonnes per year. We are setting pilots with industry and academia to expand the eco-system for efficient and greener electric bus transportation systems. We are actively supporting rail electrification and the Railways’ ambition be a net zero carbon emitter.

Our flash-charging system quickly tops up the battery while passengers get on and off the bus. On arterial roads, an e-bus with this solution can reduce the need to take the vehicle out for recharging every few hours or having a replacement bus ready. Hitachi ABB’s Grid-eMotion Fleet’s system charging infrastructure will make electrification of bus fleets as easy as possible.

We are advancing in emerging areas like sustainable mobility, smart cities, energy storage and data centers with a focus on intelligent grids. Battery-powered electric buses are a leading solution to enable zero emissions and high energy efficiency. An e-bus with flash-charging technology can solve the problem of economical unviability while improving the quality of life through reducing pollution in densely populated urban areas.

Published on March 25, 2021

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