Firming technologies were big on the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s agenda in 2018-19.
According to the 2018-19 annual report released on Thursday, one of the biggest changes for the corporation in the last financial year was the new investment mandate direction.
Designed to help address the volatility issues in the grid, the corporation must now consider the potential effects on reliability and security of supply when considering new renewable generation investments. It’s also encouraged to prioritise investments that will support reliability and security in the grid.
As such, the organisation has pursued more opportunities in firming technologies and services, large and small batteries, pumped hydro, and projects that can “solve several problems at once”.
The government-owned green bank is eyeing off hydrogen, electric vehicles, the internet of things and artificial intelligence as new opportunities in the future, according to CEFC chair Steven Skala.
A multisectoral approach
The report spruiks a multi-sectorial approach to bringing down Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions in line with Paris Agreement.
It flags electricity, vehicles, agriculture, buildings, manufacturing and waste as big opportunities for emission reduction activity.
Work in the built environment space last financial year included teaming up with Mirvac to put clean energy technology into residential communities in Sydney and Brisbane. These homes will have built-in solar and battery storage systems, high-grade insulation, LED lighting and energy efficient appliances.
Recognising that buildings are low hanging fruit when it comes to energy efficiency and emissions reduction opportunities, this is the sort of project CEFC chief executive officer Ian Learmouth would like to see more off.
“We see this as an exciting model for future developments,” he said in his introduction.
The report recognises that the green building movement is well underway for new builds and that Australia’s existing building stock is where the big opportunity lies.
The industry has a lot of untapped potential. Analysis in a 2018 ClimateWorks Australia report states that while the property sector could reduce emissions by 69 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, it is tracking towards only an 11 per cent reduction under current and proposed policies.
Almost $1.5 billion in new investments
The green bank committed almost $1.5 billion in new investments across 30 projects with a total value of $6.3 billion.
Around $1 billion of this went into renewable energy, with more than $500 million pouring into energy efficiency and low emissions projects.
Close to $321 million was repaid or returned to the organisation last financial year.
The corporation is drawing more private investments into clean energy than last year, with every CEFC dollar invested matched by $3 from the private sector in 2018–19, up from $1.80 in 2017–18.
An independent statutory review into the bank by Deloitte found that the corporation had successfully funnelled money into the clean energy sector, and that “in the absence of the CEFC a range of projects it supported may not have proceeded”.
The organisation also launched a carbon neutral equities fund, Warada Capita, which will work with leading Australian listed companies to accelerate their transition to lower carbon emissions.