Japan's Jera Ventures will invest in energy digitisation and decarbonisation technology on behalf of its thermal power producer parent.

Gold, grey and red offshore oil rig in the middle of the ocean near sunset
Photo courtesy of JERA Co., Inc

Japanese power producer Jera committed $300m to strategic investments on Friday, launching a corporate venture capital fund called Jera Ventures.

Jera was formed by energy utilities Tepco and Chubu Electric as a joint venture to run their thermal power plants, supplying energy as a wholesaler. But its sustainability aims involve bringing more renewables into its energy mix and decarbonising its existing plants.

The CVC initiative will target technologies capable of making the energy industry smarter and more renewable, including those which can enhance the hydrogen and ammonia supply chains.

Digital technologies like blockchain will also be considered if they can be used in energy provision, as will services and products which can strengthen corporate wellness. The company will supply the capital directly to startups and to strategic VC funds.

In addition to investing, Jera will offer portfolio companies access to its facilities and its gas, ammonia and hydrogen supply chains for pilot or proof-of-concept projects that could prove the efficacy of their technologies.

Jera has made a few sporadic investments in startups over the years, but they have predominantly been outside its home country. Most notabl, it joined Tepco to invest $32m in Zenobe, a UK developer of battery-based energy storage systems, in 2019.

Robert Lavine

Robert Lavine is special features editor for Global Venturing.