Up to $200M is available from Clean Energy Innovation Fund to support the growth of innovative clean energy technologies and businesses which are critical to Australia’s clean energy transformation.

 

What is Clean Energy Innovation Fund?

The Clean Energy Innovation Fund was launched by the Australian Government to invest in clean and renewable technologies for commercial deployment. Expected to create jobs, the fund will be jointly managed by the Clean Energy Finance (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

 

Background

The Clean Energy Innovation Fund is the largest dedicated Australian investor of its kind. It was created as a specialist financier to invest $200 million in early-stage clean energy companies.

The Fund targets technologies and businesses that have passed beyond the research and development stage and which can benefit from early stage seed or growth capital to help them progress to the next stage of their development.

It draws on CEFC finance to provide primarily equity finance to innovative clean energy projects and businesses which involve renewable, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies.

The Innovation Fund has made a substantial impact in a short period, with investments that demonstrate the potential for innovative companies to capitalise on the new business opportunities emerging from our clean energy transition. The Innovation Fund operates with the assistance of ARENA.

 

Objective

The Clean Energy Innovation Fund is expected to help in country’s aim to reduce emissions by 26% to 28% by 2030.

 

Funding

Through an updated investment mandate, the Government will direct the CEFC to make some of its legislated funds available for the Clean Energy Innovation Fund. Starting with $100 million in 2016-17, an additional $100 million will be available each subsequent year up to the $1 billion total.

 

Eligibility

The fund will target projects and businesses that use technologies that have passed beyond the research and development stages but are not yet established or of sufficient maturity, size or otherwise commercially ready to attract sufficient private sector capital.

Investments will have the primary purpose of earning income or a profitable return and may be in the form of debt products or equity investments or a combination of both. ‘Clean energy’ technologies include renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies.

The fund will target projects such as large scale solar with storage, off-shore energy, biofuels and smart grids. An example could be a large scale solar facility with storage in Port Augusta. Since 2012, both the CEFC and ARENA have identified projects where a different form of financing would have been the best way for government assistance to bridge the gap between research and commercial application.

 

Case Studies

Omni Tanker – $4M

Omni Tanker is drawing on a $4 million equity investment from the Clean Energy Innovation Fund to commercialise its technology in the bulk liquid transport equipment market. The Omni road tanker and the OmniTAINER®, a portable tank container (ISO tank), are designed for intermodal applications. The investment from the Clean Energy Innovation Fund is part of broader $7.9 million capital raising by Omni Tanker, which will substantially expand its NSW manufacturing plant and specialist workforce to increase production capacity.

The combination of light weight and exceptional chemical resistance of Omni Tanker’s carbon fibre tanks means transporting them requires less energy and produces lower emissions. Additionally, while traditional rubber lined stainless steel tanks are dedicated to one product and generally carry goods in only one direction, the chemical resistance and easy washout of the OmniTANK’s patented seamless thermoplastic interior means they can be two-way loaded, reducing asset down time and empty running, increasing the efficiency and capacity of transportation routes.

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Wattwachers – $4M

The CEFC is investing $2 million, through the Clean Energy Innovation Fund, as part of Wattwatchers $4 million 2016-17 Series A capital raising. The first $2 million tranche is held by Renewable Energy Venture Capital fund (REVC), which is independently managed by Southern Cross Venture Partners (SXVP) for co-funders the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and Softbank China. The CEFC finance will help the Sydney-based company lift its production volumes and drive down production costs.

Wattwatchers technology can be used across residential, commercial, industrial and utility services because it works with a wide range of software applications. It potentially works alongside other smart technology applications, battery storage and microgrids to reduce energy consumption, encourage better energy saving habits and increase the ability to tap into locally generated rooftop solar.

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Relectrify – $750,000

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation through the Clean Energy Innovation Fund is committing $750,000 equity to Relectrify to help “prove” the business with further development of the technology and initial trials.  The investment is part of a $1.5m pre-Series A equity raising by Relectrify.

Melbourne-based company Relectrify is developing and commercialising control technology that unlocks extra performance in battery systems by boosting their second-life storage capability and lifespan once they are no longer effective as electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid car batteries. Relectrify’s technology focuses on providing an affordable, sustainable energy storage alternative by giving the batteries in today’s electric cars the potential to power households tomorrow.

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Zen Ecosystems – $5.5M

The CEFC, through the Clean Energy Innovation Fund, made a cornerstone equity investment in Zen Ecosystems as part of its 2018 series B capital raising.  The CEFC has invested more than $5.5m to further develop and deploy the Zen HQ and Zen Thermostat products in Australia and internationally.

Zen Ecosystems has developed intelligent energy management solutions that could save Australian businesses up to 25 per cent on their energy costs. The company is increasing deployment of its innovative Zen HQ and Zen Thermostat products in Australia, drawing on finance from the Clean Energy Innovation Fund.

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