Australia’s green bank: Clean Energy Finance Corporation
What does it take to be called “the world’s most successful green bank”?
The description comes from Australian Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, and reflects the role of the specialist clean energy financier since it began investing just a few years ago.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has a clear focus on investments which can help cut national greenhouse gas emissions – including in agriculture, cleantech innovation, energy generation and storage, transport and waste.
Total CEFC commitments since inception reached $8.2 billion by 30 June 2020, helping spur $27.8 billion in investment commitments to clean energy initiatives across the economy. A remarkable feature of the CEFC’s activities is the diversity of its investments. Centred on renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies, CEFC finance is supporting Australia’s largest battery, in South Australia; it has helped deliver almost 18,000 smaller-scale asset finance projects for farmers, manufacturers and others; and has financed more than 3 GWs of utility scale solar and wind renewable energy.
The CEFC is also Australia’s largest dedicated cleantech investor. Recent investments through the Clean Energy Innovation Fund have included smart charging hardware for JET Charge – Australia’s leading specialist in electric vehicle charging infrastructure; finance to support Tenacious Ventures create Australia’s first dedicated agrifood tech venture capital firm; and support for the Soil Carbon Company as it develops a microbial treatment to improve the drought resilience of farming land, lift productivity and remove carbon from the atmosphere.
With Australians wanting to cut emissions and energy costs at home, the CEFC is also spearheading the construction of market leading, energy efficient housing. It has committed up to $60 million to enable Bank Australia to provide discounted finance to a broad range of homeowners – from new buyers to existing owners. CEFC finance is also delivering an estimated $500 cut to energy bills per household, in energy efficient community housing.
The CEFC is at the forefront of our recycling endeavours and has invested in Australia’s first two large scale energy-from-waste plants. It is intensifying these efforts through the new Australian Recycling Investment Fund, with a focus on large-scale projects.
CEFC is not shy of taking on new challenges, including the new Advancing Hydrogen Fund, where CEFC finance will help develop an important new domestic and export industry. Renewable hydrogen can also enable the decarbonisation of notoriously difficult-to-abate sectors, particularly in transport and manufacturing, while accelerating the contribution of renewable energy across the economy.