Hitachi Steps Up Green IT Efforts

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Hitachi chief executive Takashi Kawamura said the vendor will focus on “green mobility,” smart grids and the global expansion of the company’s green data centres

Hitachi chief executive Takashi Kawamura, new to the role since 1 April, made a speech in Tokyo on 20 April, outlining his goals for the company, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year.

Three key areas he promoted, within plans to expedite efforts to rebuild Hitachi’s business portfolio, were “fusing information and telecommunication systems and power and industrial systems; transforming into a truly global company; and expanding environmental businesses.”

To the first point, Kawamura pointed to large-scale infrastructure projects such as railways. “By fusing power generation and control system technologies, we will strengthen our response to smart grid systems,” Kawamura said.

In related news, also on 20 April, Consolidated Edison, one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the United States, announced that it had contracted Zenergy Power, a firm developing high-efficiency, renewable energy devices that capitalize on superconductor technologies, to built and test a smart grid device that will offer the energy company greater reliability.

The Department of Energy reportedly estimates power disruptions cost the U.S. economy more than $100 billion (£69bn) a year.

Kawamura’s plans for global expansion—extending power plant and transportation system operations overseas, as well as expanding its global solutions business—also included a “green” bent, in that Hitachi has already begun extending its eco-friendly green data centers outside of Japan, through the launch of European operations.

The expansion of Hitachi’s environmental business, though, is most specifically focused on providing energy-saving solutions, which are based on “two main pillars,” Kawamura said.

“One is what we call ‘green mobility,’ railway systems, automotive systems, logistics solutions, and other systems and solutions that lower environmental impact.”

The second pillar, he said, “is nuclear power generation, highly efficient coal-fired thermal power generation, ‘smart grids’ and renewable energy and eco-conscious data centers. These systems are underpinned by high-performance motors and inverters, highly reliable industrial- and automotive-use lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, and other key devices.”

Strengthening these key devices, Kawamura said, will help Hitachi expand its environmental-related businesses and achieve the goals it set in its “Environmental Vision 2025” of reducing the carbon emissions from Hitachi Group products by 100 million tons.

Kawamura went on to say that Hitachi will continue efforts to create a business base that can generate earnings “even when demand is lackluster,” and that the company’s overriding goal is “to once again be known for its financial strength.”

Bloomberg also reported that Hitachi may apply for public funding to bolster capital being drained by record losses.

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