Last Updated on October 20, 2020 by admin
Australia’s inexperienced financial institution, the Clear Power Finance Company, has reaffirmed its dedication to underwriting the transition to a renewable electrical energy grid, pointing to a brand new monetary yr targeted on alternatives in hydrogen, batteries, digital energy vegetation and pumped hydro.
In its Annual Report for 2019-20, printed on Tuesday, the CEFC mentioned it might will prioritise funding in progressive know-how and financing options to additional speed up emissions discount within the yr forward.
This included fast-tracking measures to deliver the electrical energy grid up to the mark, investing in large-scale power storage options, and backing rising alternatives in hydrogen, the report mentioned.
“For the yr forward, we’re targeted on investing in a safe, inexpensive and sustainable power system, to extend the share of renewable power in a modernised electrical energy grid,” mentioned CEFC chief Ian Learmonth.
“The joy round hydrogen and recycling alerts the very robust potential of those applied sciences to ship a step change in emissions discount.
“We may even speed up efforts to drive down emissions from buildings, agribusiness and infrastructure, and proceed to again the cleantech sector, the place progressive startups are reworking the way in which we farm, drive and even obtain our house deliveries,” he mentioned.
The report famous that inexperienced financial institution had continued its robust monetary efficiency over the 2019-2020 monetary yr, regardless of the ravages of Covid-19, with nearly $942 million in finance repaid or recouped, alongside income of $205 million.
The report additionally detailed funding commitments of greater than $1 billion, supporting investments with a mixed worth of $four.2 billion within the yr to 30 June 2020 and focusing on multiple million tonnes of carbon abatement yearly.
The reassertion of what the CEFC does greatest – and has achieved, since its formation in 2012 underneath the Labor Gillard authorities – comes amid issues the Morrison authorities plans to open up the funding fund to fossil gas initiatives, and different most popular applied sciences, similar to carbon seize and storage.
The proposed legislative amendments being pursued by federal power minister Angus Taylor have lately been the topic of vigorous debate in a Senate Inquiry.
Whereas the amendments would see a further $1 billion in funds allotted to the CEFC as a part of the Morrison authorities’s Grid Reliability Fund, they’d additionally hand higher management of the company’s investments to Taylor, and will see its cash used to underwrite probably loss-making fossil gas initiatives.
These issues have been additional fuelled by the September unveiling of the federal Coalition’s controversial Know-how Roadmap, which promised to ship a 250 million tonne discount in annual emissions by 2040, and $18 billion in authorities funding in new ‘low emissions’ applied sciences by 2030.
As RenewEconomy reported on the time, there was little clarification of how these numbers could be achieved, which means that the funding envelope might solely be met by recycling Gillard-era investments, and will require the CEFC to promote some $eight billion in belongings.
The transfer to repurpose funding devoted to supporting Australia’s rising clear power sector has been broadly criticised, together with by former ARENA chair Greg Bourne, who mentioned it confirmed how “determined” the Morrison authorities was to assist the fossil gas trade.
“Relatively than specializing in previous applied sciences, the federal government must be driving for a cleaner future. Solely a renewables-led future makes financial sense. Propping up failing fossil fuels and commercially non-viable applied sciences like CCS is a waste of taxpayers’ cash,” Bourne mentioned.
And the CEFC’s inaugural CEO, Oliver Yates, added his voice to the rising checklist of critics simply final week, telling a Senate inquiry that plans for the company to spend money on ‘soiled offers’ have been harmful.
“Any try to alter the way in which the CEFC invests, making it spend money on soiled offers or loss making investments, might destroy it’s crucial world demonstration function and decelerate world motion on local weather change,” Yates mentioned.
In his letter accompanying the annual report, Learmonth mentioned 2019–20 demonstrated that the deployment of CEFC capital, mixed with unparalleled monetary and trade experience, was important to the decarbonisation of the Australian financial system and the renewables progress.
“Our investments in 2019–20 mirror success in our function as catalysts for change, main the market with pioneering investments throughout agriculture, cleantech, clear power era and storage, infrastructure, property, transport and waste,” he mentioned.
Curiously, carbon seize and storage is talked about solely twice within the 220-page CEFC report, as soon as in a abstract of the Morrison authorities’s Know-how Funding Roadmap, and as soon as in a abstract of the CEFC Act.
The latter reference to CCS reminds us that the Act, because it stands, “expressly excludes CEFC funding in carbon seize and storage, nuclear know-how and nuclear energy.”
In an announcement from CEFC chair Steven Skala, nevertheless, Skala says thrilling prospects for funding proceed to emerge, together with by the anticipated Grid Reliability Fund, in addition to these famous within the Australian Authorities Know-how Funding Roadmap.
“This will additionally contain funding in transitional applied sciences which will play a crucial function in supporting the power system,” he mentioned.
However Skala additionally famous that “since inception, sound monetary administration has been an indicator of CEFC operations.”
“In 2019–20, difficult financial situations highlighted the significance of this dedication to prudent funding,” he mentioned.