Mar 27, 2019

Japanese power giant launches solar and battery company

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

NEW YORK — A power technology conglomerate, known mostly for traditional energy sources like natural gas, has launched a new company to provide solar electricity and battery storage.

Why it matters: The announcement from Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas, made Monday at the Bloomberg NEF conference, shows how the world's biggest energy and technology companies are adapting to a world, or at least many parts of it, that is demanding cleaner energy sources.

Driving the news: The new company, called Oriden, is a project development firm under the umbrella of Japanese company. The name is a play on the English word "origin" and the Japanese word "denki" (電気), meaning electricity.

"We offer nuclear, we offer coal, we offer hydro, we offer offshore wind, we offer natural gas. We want to be able to offer our customers whatever they want to buy. And we're strong believers that the future here in the United States is a combination of natural gas, renewables and storage."
— Paul Browning, CEO and president, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas

One level deeper: Browning tells Axios in an interview that the decision was partly in response to some state moves away from natural gas, including California and Arizona.

  • "We have to be thinking about what's next," says Browning, adding that hydrogen as a form of storage is also something the company is pursuing.

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Coronavirus cases rise, as more Americans on cruise confirmed ill

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A U.S. public health official confirms more than 40 Americans on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan have coronavirus, while the remaining U.S. citizens without symptoms are being evacuated.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

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Scoop: Inside the Trump campaign's big hedge on Facebook

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Trump campaign has invested most of its advertising budget to date on Facebook, testing thousands of versions of ads per day to maximize its spending.

But behind the scenes, a source familiar with the campaign tells Axios, the thinking has shifted: "As everyone can see, we still have strong spending on Facebook, but the percentage of our total media budget [on Facebook] is shrinking."

Trump's revenge tour has the House in its sights

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Contributor

In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections — buoyed by Republican control of both chambers — President Trump viewed campaigning for the House as a lower-tier priority and instead poured his energy into rallying for the Senate.

But after the GOP reckoning in 2018, and experiencing firsthand how damaging a Democratic-led House has been to him, Trump is now personally invested in helping Republicans regain the majority in November, several people familiar with his thinking tell Axios.