Japanese auto giant Toyota Motor has emerged as a key investor in a major new renewable energy fund, as it works towards powering its factories and dealerships with zero emissions electricity.
In a joint announcement on Wednesday, Toyota said it would supply ¥10 billion ($A121 million) towards a ¥30 billion fund to be managed by Japanese asset management outfit, Sparx Group.
The Mirai Renewable Energy Fund will reportedly target a range of renewable energy development, including solar, wind, biomass and geothermal power plants.
Toyota said the fund’s basic principle was “driving renewable energy growth and use throughout Japan,” to further improve regional economic development and energy self-reliance.
The fund aims to target new renewable energy assets, rather than investing in established plant, and to be involved in their development from the initial stages.
“Toyota is looking toward future electricity supplies for its production plants, electric vehicles, and dealerships, as part of achieving its ‘Environmental Challenge 2050’ goals through its investment in the new fund,” the automaker said in a statemet.
“The fund also aims to support the realisation of a low-carbon society that makes maximum use of clean energy.”
As we have reported, Toyota aims to be mass-producing pure electric cars by 2020, and to have eradicated internal combustion engines by 2050 – the same date it also wants to achieve zero emissions manufacturing.
The automaker formed the Mirai Creation Fund in 2015 with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Sparx, which has invested in startups in artificial intelligence and robotics and in research and development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Last year, Toyota Motor North America announced plans to build the “world’s first” megawatt-scale carbonate fuel cell power generation plant with a hydrogen fueling station to support its operations at the Port of Long Beach.
The Tri-Gen facility will reportedly use bio-waste sourced from California agricultural waste to generate water, electricity and hydrogen.
In Australia, back in 2014, Toyota’s now closed engine factory in Altona North, Victoria, installed a 500kW rooftop solar system – at the time the largest roof-mounted PV system in Victoria, and the third largest in the country.
According to Toyota, the array was also the first in Australia to directly connect to an industrial site’s internal high voltage network via a single 500kW central inverter and transformer, manufactured by ABB.