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Toshiba Gets Smart With Green Energy

By Marie Jones | Wednesday | 25/05/2011

Toshiba is to move into the green energy business and turn its smart community operations into a money spinner. It aims to add technologies for low carbon energies including solar power, geothermal power and hydro electric power to its current portfolio of consumer electronics products, semiconductors and electric power.

Now the company has made a new move, by signing a memorandum of understanding with Korean company Unison Co. Ltd, which manufactures wind power equipment.

Under the deal Toshiba will have a strategic business alliance for the co-development and marketing of wind power generators.

The alliance will be created through a subscription to a convertible bond for 40 billion won, which Unison will issue to Toshiba.

The move signals Toshiba's shifting focus towards smart community operations, following recent  setbacks to its semiconductor and nuclear businesses, after the Japanese earthquake in March.

Last week it announced a $2 billion acquisition of Australian owned company Landis + Gyr, a specialist in "smart" metering technology, which has its base in Switzerland.

Toshiba aims to triple sales from its smart community business to 900 billion yen by fiscal year 2015, acording to the Nikkei.

The company has yet to cover the market's full spectrum, which ranges from power generation to smart grids and other energy saving systems.

Alongside increasing environmental awareness, renewable energy sources including hydro, solar power, geothermal and wind power are gaining ground in Europe and the US and is set to increase pace in emerging economies such as China and India.

Worldwide wind power generation capacity is expected to almost quadruple in the period from 2008 to 2020, from 120GW to 477GW.

The alliance with Unison will give Toshiba rights to distribute Unison's generators worldwide through its overseas subsidiaries.

Toshiba will also work with Unison on co-development of higher efficiency windmills, applying design technologies for fluid mechanics derived from its know-how in steam turbine generators.

Apart from boosting its renewable energy business, Toshiba will also beef up its green electronics parts business, which includes storage batteries and efficient motors. Its power electronics and electric vehicle operations, which rely on loithium ion batteries and highly efficient motors, is set to quadruple.

The company has aggressive plans to increase group sales by 33 percent in fiscal year 2013, and doubling group operating profits. Overseas, it aims to increase its sales ratio to 65 percent from 55 percent  and generate equal sales in Japan, the US and Europe and emerging countries, the Nikkei reported.

Meanwhile the company which is best known for selling TVs, laptops and other consumer electronic products has admitted its  tablet strategy is in tatters, with its promised Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet, named 'Thrive', delayed further until the third quarter of this year.



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