Clean energy financing body invests in technology to cut emissions

Clean Energy Finance Corp.Clean Energy Finance Corp.

In a record investment year for green energy, the federal clean energy financing body says its investment is now more focused on technological innovation to cut energy costs and lower emissions.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has in total issued around $19 billion in clean energy investment funds since 2013.

The CEFC Annual Report 2017-18 shows total new commitments in the financial year were $2.3 billion, up from the $2.1 billion that the organisation committed to in the previous financial year.

CEFC – a clean energy catalyst

Chair Steven Skala said the CEFC has a clear charter to be a catalyst for investment in clean energy.

“We are a global leader amongst institutions of our type. Our methodology is to seek to crowd in private sector investment and engage capital markets to operate effectively in the private energy sector.”

Skala added that Australian industry was now seeing the financial opportunities of decarbonisation.

“The question now is not one of direction, but of pace,” he said.

CEO Ian Learmonth said clean energy technologies were now embraced by Australian homes and businesses.

“In 2017-18, our most active year of investment, we see a common thread in this activity: a focus on embracing technological innovation to cut energy costs and lower emissions.”

Meanwhile, CEFC commitments in 2017-18 included:

  • $1.1 billion in renewable energy,
  • $944 million in energy efficiency,
  • $100 million in transport, and
  • $127 million in waste-related projects.

Renewable energy integration in buildings

The report also says CEFC investment in property targeted ‘demonstration’ projects focused on integration of renewable energy into new and existing buildings.

“Our new commitments covered hospitals and healthcare, shopping centres, hotels, master-planned residential communities and commercial-scale precincts,” it states.

“These subsectors all have significant potential to unlock emissions reductions and cost savings through an increased focus on sustainability.”

The report says CEFC investment has helped accelerate the delivery of more than 1 GW in additional solar energy.

This equates to enough electricity to power about 375,000 average homes. Projects are located in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and also the Northern Territory.

Despite a relatively low level of total electricity production, the clean energy financing  investments are having an impact.

“While total CEFC solar investments represent just 1 per cent of Australia’s total electricity generation, they represent a substantial reduction in carbon emissions, of around 1.8 million tonnes annually, making an important contribution to Australia’s overall emissions reduction goals.”