In 2019–20 the CEFC continued to develop organisational capability to support a stronger innovation focus. This included establishment of the Clean Futures Team, charged with focusing on investments in technologies such as grid infrastructure and hydrogen that will be required in the future as we shift to a lower emissions economy. In addition, we continued investing in innovation, including technologies, businesses and financing structures across Australia, as evidenced by CEFC completing the first grid scale storage financing along with a second significant energy from waste facility.
In 2019–20 the Board asked Management to take the lead in establishing collaborative relationships across industry, government stakeholders and key decision making bodies to contribute to the direction of the sustainable energy transition. To this end there was stronger collaboration with AEMO, particularly with respect to grid stability and reliability matters, in line with the directions in our Investment Mandate. Resourcing support was provided to DISER for specific projects and there was strong engagement with the NSW Government as it identified the first Renewable Energy Zone in Australia.
In 2019–20 we sought to make meaningful progress based on integrated development plans for energy storage, EVs, biofuels, markets development, general policy and green bond markets, as well as nation building projects. This progress was demonstrated by our support for EVs through a new Innovation Fund investment in JET Charge, which provides charging infrastructure along with a new, innovative investment in agtech and soil carbon. With respect to the green bond market, we were pleased to be able to help establish the Australian Unity Green Bond Fund through our seed investment and support the QIC Queensland Shopping Centre Fund (QSCF) become the world’s first retail property landlord to issue a certified climate bond.
In 2019–20 we contributed to the development of a range of market reports and information materials to build market capacity, including CEFC Investment Insights to provide a broader market understanding of the “why” behind our transactions. We contributed to targeted industry and sector specific conferences and events, notwithstanding the dampening effect of the global pandemic on business engagement activities. These activities supported a cross section of CEFC business activities, particularly renewables, bioenergy, hydrogen and the institutional investor segment. Our inaugural Hydrogen workshop was well attended, as was our second Electric Vehicle Day. We also strengthened industry based relationships, including with our sectoral research reports and investment insights, which showcase demonstrable and cost effective emissions reduction outcomes.