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Houston company names new tech partner on projects aimed at increasing grid reliability

Grid United announced a new partnership with Hitachi Energy that it's entered into a collaboration to work on high-voltage direct current technology for Grid United transmission projects. Photo via hitachienergy.com

A Houston company has tapped a new tech partner to work on projects that are expected to help boost transmission capacity across the U.S. amidst increased, continued demands for energy.

Houston-based electrical transmission developer Grid United and Hitachi Energy announced at CERAWeek that it's entered into a collaboration to work on high-voltage direct current technology for Grid United transmission projects. These projects will aim to interconnect the eastern and western regional power grids in the U.S. The Eastern Interconnection east of the Rocky Mountains, the Western Interconnection west of the Rockies and the Texas Interconnection run by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, make up the three main power grids.

This technology and these projects play a key role in the U.S. government’s commitment to accelerating the energy transition, which includes the priorities of the U.S. Department of Energy. The collaboration is considered a capacity reservation agreement in which Hitachi Energy will provide HVDC technology to support the development of multiple Grid United HVDC interconnections. The interconnections aim to mitigate the impact of extreme events and accommodate demands for electricity.

“With industry leading HVDC technology and a global track record, Hitachi Energy is a needed collaborator for the development of a more resilient and reliable electric power grid,” Michael Skelly, CEO and co-founder of Grid United, says in a news release. “By working with companies like Hitachi Energy and partnering with incumbent utilities, we’re confident we can quicken the pace of modernizing and strengthening the U.S. electric grid to meet rapidly increasing electricity demand.”

The multi-contract framework is one of the first of new business models, which allows Hitachi Energy to plan in “advance to increase manufacturing capacity, expand and train the workforce, and maximize standardization to increase efficiency between successive projects” according to a news release.

We are proud to collaborate with Grid United to strengthen the U.S. power grid, making it more flexible, reliable, and secure,” Managing Director of Grid Integration Business Niklas Persson says in a news release. “By applying our innovative new business model which enables speed and scale in the supply chain, we are confident we can make important contributions to streamlining the development process to help accelerate the energy transition.”

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A View From HETI

The combined technology portfolios will accelerate the introduction of promising early-stage decarbonization technology. Photo via Getty Images

SLB announced its plans to combine its carbon capture business with Norway company, Aker Carbon Capture.

Upon completion of the transaction, which is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of this year, SLB will own 80 percent of the combined business and ACC will own 20 percent.

According to a SLB news release, the combined technology portfolios will accelerate the introduction of promising early-stage decarbonization technology.

“For CCUS to have the expected impact on supporting global net-zero ambitions, it will need to scale up 100-200 times in less than three decades,” Olivier Le Peuch, CEO of SLB, says in the release. “Crucial to this scale-up is the ability to lower capture costs, which often represent as much as 50-70% of the total spend of a CCUS project.

The International Energy Agency estimates that over one gigaton of CO2 every year year will need to be captured by 2030 — a figure that scales up to over six gigatons by 2050.

"We are excited to create this business with ACC to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture technologies that will shift the economics of carbon capture across high-emitting industrial sectors,” Le Peuch continues.

SLB is slated to pay NOK 4.12 billion — around $379.4 million — to own 80 percent of Aker Carbon Capture Holding AS, which owns ACC, per the news release, and SLB may also pay up to NOK 1.36 billion over the next three years, depending on business performance.

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