The Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Australia’s state-run clean energy financier, is committing an additional A$180 million ($134 million; €119 million) to an energy efficiency financing programme run by the National Australia Bank.
The new finance adds to the CEFC’s previous A$120 million commitment to the programme in 2015, bringing its total commitment to the scheme to A$300 million.
The NAB Energy Efficient Bonus Programme provides customers with a 0.7 percent discount on the bank’s standard equipment finance rate for loans backing eligible clean energy investments, such as energy efficient vehicles, irrigation systems, solar projects, building upgrades, lighting upgrades, processing line improvements and refrigeration. Discounted loans are available for up to 10 years for amounts between A$10,000 and A$5 million.
The programme had already provided finance for more than 1,000 clean energy assets across Australia, said Paul Greenop, the CEFC’s head of portfolio management. It has also been particularly well received by the bank’s agribusiness customers, the institution noted.
“After surveying 5,000 of our farmers for two consecutive years, 85 percent told us they saw energy costs as a significant business risk. So, we are helping our customers transition to more sustainable business models and particularly for intensive agriculture, significantly reducing their energy and water bills,” said Khan Home, general manager of NAB’s agribusiness.
“When organisations look at cutting energy costs, they tend to initially think about lighting upgrades, and upgrades to air conditioning, but the possibilities are far greater,” said Greenop. “We are seeing major investment to upgrade energy intensive manufacturing and agricultural equipment, as well as solid investment in more efficient light vehicles and rooftop solar.”
Home added that clean energy asset finance can typically reduce energy costs by 10 to 20 percent through switching to more productive and energy-efficient equipment and processes.