CEFC clean energy investments hit $11 billion

Investment commitments by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) have contributed to $11 billion in clean energy projects in Australia in its first four years.

The 2016-2017 year saw the CEFC commit almost $2.1 billion to 35 individual transactions, compared with $837 million in commitments to 15 transactions in 2015-2016.

“Australia’s clean energy sector is coming of age, with investment activity increasingly stretching across the economy,” CEFC chief executive Ian Learmonth said.

“Working alongside co-investors and developers, CEFC finance is helping tackle some of Australia’s toughest emissions challenges, while delivering business benefits through lower energy consumption.

“The accelerated pace of CEFC commitments in the past financial year reflects an improved policy environment and increased investor confidence.”

Commitments included an additional $300 million towards asset finance facilities for business, manufacturing and agribusiness.

Each dollar of CEFC investment commitments in 2016-2017 was matched by more than $2 from the private sector.

New CEFC investment commitments in 2016-2017 included more than 2000 smaller-scale energy efficiency projects; and 10 large-scale solar projects in regional Queensland, NSW and Victoria, including alongside ARENA, as well as additional CEFC investments in solar and wind.

“Australia’s energy transition is undergoing considerable scrutiny, reflecting the scale of the challenge and the scope of the opportunity,” Mr Learmonth said.

“As discussed in the recent Finkel report, Australia needs a resilient, balanced and secure electricity system, which includes large-scale renewable energy, energy storage and other initiatives.

“We continue to take seriously our public policy purpose to increase the flow of finance into the clean energy sector.

“Decarbonisation requires targeted action to drive down emissions, while moving clean energy technologies down the cost curve to bring diversity to our energy mix.

“While we have seen a considerable increase in the level of clean energy investment, the reality is that we are at the beginning of this transition. A commitment to long-term investment remains essential to decarbonisation.”

Mr Learmonth said Australia had enormous potential in clean energy.

“This includes grid-scale batteries and pumped hydro storage, as well as emerging behind the meter and demand management solutions,” he said.

“We expect these technologies to move centre stage in the clean energy ecosystem, alongside our increasingly established clean energy infrastructure.”