Clean Energy Innovation Fund

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.

 

Background

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).

The Clean Energy Innovation Fund will target projects including large-scale solar with storage, off-shore energy, biofuels and smart grids.The Clean Energy Innovation 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.

The Innovation Fund uses CEFC finance to invest in innovative clean energy companies and projects.  It can provide debt and/or equity finance for innovative clean energy projects and businesses which support renewables, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies.

It is operated in consultation with ARENA, drawing on the complementary experience and expertise of the two organisations.  Final investment approval is provided by the CEFC Board, which is responsible for all CEFC investment commitments made under the CEFC Act.  The Innovation Fund does not make grants.

The CEFC invests in clean energy technologies, which are defined in the CEFC Act as renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies. CEFC make investments which are “solely or mainly Australian-based”.  They do not invest in “prohibited technologies”.

 

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.

 

Media Release

The CEFC has marked a major milestone in Australia’s clean energy transition, helping drive more than $1 billion in new investment in smaller-scale clean energy projects Australia-wide.

The milestone coincides with the launch of the CEFC’s latest co-financing program, a $100 million agreement with the Bank of Queensland’s BOQ Finance (BOQF) division, to help businesses switch to solar, energy storage and electric vehicles.

In the past six years, the CEFC has worked with major banks and non-bank lenders to deliver tailored co-finance programs to businesses to encourage investment in clean energy technologies which can reduce their use of grid energy as well as lower their carbon emissions.

The CEFC finance has been used in more than 11,300 projects, ranging from $10,000 to $5 million. The average investment is $125,000. Businesses drawing on from these programs include manufacturers, agribusinesses and building owners.

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said: “We’re making a real difference for businesses across the country, by working with leading Australian lenders to provide competitive finance for clean energy investment. These co-finance programs have proved to be efficient, effective and easy to access for borrowers, who have used them to help finance more than $1 billion in new investments in clean energy.

“The co-finance programs allow us to rapidly extend the reach of our finance across a diverse range of projects, delivering real and measurable benefits to the economy and to our environment. We are delighted to now include Bank of Queensland Finance in this program.”

The CEFC’s co-finance programs have financed:

  • More than 1,000 hybrids, battery electric vehicles and plug in hybrid electric vehicles.
  • More than 4,400 rooftop solar projects, with a total investment value of more than $110 million.
  • More than 400 projects for a variety of energy efficiency upgrades, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning projects, refrigeration upgrades, lighting improvements and a range of other qualifying energy efficiency technologies. The total investment value exceeds $260 million
  • More than 1,000 projects for a range of on-farm and agribusiness projects, with a total investment value of more than $340 million.

BOQF is a leading player in the mid-market asset financing segment across Australia and New Zealand, delivering asset, cash flow and structured finance solutions to customers across a number of business lines.

BOQF Chief Executive Officer Verity Gilpin said: “We pride ourselves on our innovative approach to finance and delivering end-to-end solutions that transform the way our partners operate.

“An increasing number of our customers are seeking clean energy alternatives, and we are pleased to be working with CEFC to make the up-front investment in sustainable solutions simpler and more affordable.”

CEFC Transaction Lead Grace Tam added: “The BOQF Energy Efficient Equipment Finance program will help businesses capture the clean energy benefits of lower energy use, improved productivity and lower carbon emissions.

“It’s also great to see BOQF supporting customers to finance both their solar and battery storage solutions. This will become an increasingly important way for businesses to maximise the benefits of solar PV, while also avoiding peak charges for electricity by using more of the energy they generate on their own rooftops.”

The BOQF Energy Efficient Equipment Finance program is drawing on CEFC finance to offer a 0.7 per cent per annum discount on the finance rate for a range of eligible projects. Projects may include:

  • Rooftop solar systems and solar thermal systems
  • Agricultural equipment, including tractors, headers and irrigation
  • Battery storage
  • Battery electric vehicles and plug in hybrid electric vehicles
  • Lighting, HVAC and commercial refrigeration equipment

For more information please see the BOQ Finance Energy Efficient Equipment Finance.

 

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