Australia’s CEFC gets mandate to create A$1bn green fund

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation will use the vehicle to support innovative projects and businesses for a period of 10 years.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), a renewable financier created by the Australian government, has received the green light to create the A$1 billion ($734 million; €642 million) Clean Energy Innovation Fund (CEIF). 

Jointly managed by CEFC and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the vehicle will invest up to A$100 million a year in clean energy projects and businesses in both equity and debt.

The fund will be established in July, with its founding capital drawn from CEFC’s A$10 billion allocation. The corporation's mandate will run from 2016 to 2026.

“The CEIF will focus on companies, business and projects at early stages of development that are now seeking growth capital or early stage capital to assist their businesses get to the next stage of their development,” said Oliver Yates, chief executive of CEFC, in a statement. 

The fund will target sectors including large-scale solar, energy storage, offshore energy, biofuels and smart grids. Other clean energy technologies may also be covered, CEFC said.

ARENA is in the process of tendering out A$100 million worth of large-scale solar PV projects. A total of 22 have so far been short-listed, some of which are seeking financing from CEFC under its A$250 million solar programme. 

Once this solar round is complete, ARENA will move from providing grant-based support to investing debt and equity via the CEIF, according to a statement by the Australian government.

The country aims to reduce carbon emissions by up to 28 percent by 2030 through a series of policy changes including the Renewable Energy Target, the National Energy Productivity Plan and the Emissions Reduction Fund.