The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has expanded its partnership with Sustainable Melbourne Fund (SMF), boosting momentum for investment in renewable energy across Victorian councils and small businesses.
Through the agreement, the Australian Government will provide $390,000 for an additional 15 local governments to offer Environmental Upgrade Finance (EUF) in their municipalities, using SMF’s services, driving uptake of EUF statewide.
The rapid expansion of the EUF market in Victoria has boosted local and national investment in renewable energy.
Currently, 14 councils have, or are opening up, EUF offerings with $8.25 million in successful renewable energy loans already secured in these municipalities.
SMF chief executive officer Scott Bocskay the expansion of the program would enable nearly 50 per cent of all local governments in Victoria to offer EUF to their communities.
“Opening up this marketplace creates greater investment opportunities for renewable energy projects across the state,” Mr Bocskay said.
“These investments deliver value to local communities by reducing business operating costs, whilst creating a cleaner energy future.
“Whether your business is a farm or a factory, EUF will become available to your business as a tool to help boost productivity.
“This directly grows business profits, reduces power bills and delivers capital growth. As a result, it increases businesses’ economic resilience and improves energy productivity across the state.”
The projects funded by EUF are saving Victorian small to medium enterprises $1.5 million per annum, and cutting 5953 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
“The success of the program shows that there is growing community awareness of the benefits that renewable energy brings to local businesses whether it be from cost savings or contributing to reducing Australia’s emissions,” ARENA chief executive officer Ivor Frischknecht said.