Boost in confidence for Aussie clean energy, CEFC says

The Australian green bank said every dollar it spent over the past 12 months attracted more than twice as much private investments in environmental projects.

An “improved policy environment and increased investor confidence” is driving an accelerated investment pace in Australia's clean energy market, the country's green bank said.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation committed A$2.1 billion ($1.67 billion; €1.44 billion) across 35 transactions over the past 12 months, compared with A$837 million to 15 transactions during the previous period.

The institution's pledge over the last year supported a portfolio of A$6.5 billion worth of projects, including 10 large-scale solar farms, a clean energy logistics project, energy efficient housing, energy solutions start-ups and green bonds.

“Each dollar of CEFC investment commitments in 2016-17 was matched by more than A$2 from the private sector, with the investment portfolio expected to generate a return above the government's costs of funds,” the CEFC said. The government's cost of funds currently stand at around 2.7 percent, based on the weighted average of five-year government bond rates.

The CEFC's total investment commitments to date stand at A$4.3 billion. This contributes to a portfolio of A$11 billion worth of projects which is expected to bring a lifetime yield of 5-6 percent since the financier started investing in 2013.  

“As a specialist investor in clean energy in Australia, we welcome the increasing investor recognition of the diverse uses and considerable positive benefits of clean energy, from renewables to energy efficiency and low emissions technologies,” said Ian Learmonth, CEFC chief executive.

He added that opportunities in Australia's clean energy sector include grid-scale batteries and pumped hydro storage, as well as emerging behind-the-meter and demand management solutions.