Surging investor confidence in clean energy drives record $2 billion investment from CEFC
Article by Tom Watson
In a sign that confidence in the Australian clean energy sector is continuing to grow, the CEFC (Clean Energy Finance Corporation) has set a new record in its level of investment across the country.
The government-owned CEFC committed over $2 billion in 35 different transactions during the 2016-17 financial year - a 250% increase from its 2015-16 commitment of $837 million - with every dollar invested matched by $2 from the private sector.
“The accelerated pace of CEFC commitments in the past financial year reflects an improved policy environment and increased investor confidence,” said CEO Ian Learmonth.
“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.”
Established in 2012, the CEFC is committed to reducing carbon emissions by investing in the clean energy sector, with a focus on industries with the largest potential for ‘decarbonisation’ such as electricity generation, transport and manufacturing.
The CEFC assisted in a number of clean energy projects in 2016-17 including the establishment of a green loan marketplace with peer-to-peer lender RateSetter, 500 new energy efficient homes for low income families in New South Wales and ten large-scale solar projects in regional Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
Mr Learmonth stated that Australia had even greater potential to reduce carbon emissions in the future with further investment in clean energy technology such as battery storage and pumped hydro.
“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,” he said.
Mr Learmonth suggested that while the clean energy sector in Australia may be starting to come of age, there was still a long way to go, especially given the scrutiny and recent criticism the sector has faced.
“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,” he said.
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