The federal government continues to draw out the suspense around kicking off projects under the Emissions Reduction Fund, with some predictions the first round of reverse auctions will be announced in March.
There appears to be no certainty, however, that the kinds of projects that reduce emissions by cutting coal-fired energy use will actually be winners when the time comes to bid, even though the final methodology for commercial buildings energy-efficiency projects was released last month.
Such projects may be eligible, but then again, there’s way too much guesswork flying around.
Other sources of funding are around, including the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which says uptake of the $100 million loan program being offered in conjunction with the Commonwealth Bank continues to attract new customers.
Projects can include energy efficiency plant and lighting upgrades as well as the installation of renewable energy systems.
CEFC chief executive Oliver Yates said the CEFC was proud to be offering a product that was making demonstrated differences to businesses future-proofing against rising energy costs by making it easier to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements..
“We’re experiencing growing interest in Energy Efficient Loans and even seeing some businesses, after experiencing the positive results, look to financing additional upgrades to improve the efficiency of their operations even further,” Mr Yates said.
As at 30 June 2014, the CEFC had contracted investments of over $900 million in projects with a total value of over $3 billion. These investments are targeting a positive financial return, and the 40 direct investment projects and 25 projects co-financed under aggregation schemes are expected to achieve abatement of 4.2 million tonnes of CO2 a year.
So while the government continues to dance around making statements without metrics and policies without sense, aided and abetted by commentators that appear to have not read the briefing papers, the CEFC goes ahead and demonstrates the basic business case again – reduce energy use and add renewable energy and a project will make money and save the planet at the same time.
Chief executive of the Climate Institute, John Connor, recently said that the big polluters were currently frantically lobbying for every emissions exemption they could wrangle out of the government, following pressure to declare something better than a five per cent reduction target for the nation as a whole well and truly ahead of December’s Climate Summit in Paris, and possibly a new 20-year unilateral agreement.