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Carpets to customised printers - CEFC finance helps businesses save

Article from Sustainability Matters, 21 September 2015

For many it's a lightbulb moment. Businesses across Australia are discovering they can transform their operations by investing in energy efficient technologies.

Simple changes to machinery or lighting can deliver reductions on business energy bills in the region of 20 to 30%.

Thinking of scale, researcher ClimateWorks Australia has determined that by modernising Australia's energy system, Australia could achieve a doubling of energy productivity in as little as 15 years.

Clean Energy Finance Corporation CEO Oliver Yates says those acting now are making important investments in the future health of their businesses.

"By investing in technologies that cut energy use, businesses can benefit from a range of long-term flow-on effects such as lower maintenance costs, improved workspace and increased production capacity," Yates said.

"While lighting upgrades are often a first step, we've now helped business with finance for projects as varied as a fruit grader, pumps for irrigators and refrigeration for coolstore operators.

"We're working with major lenders - Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Firstmac - on programs designed to make innovation easier for Australian businesses big and small."

From boilers to boom sprayers

The CEFC and NAB's $120 million Energy Efficient Bonus is a program of equipment finance designed to help accelerate Australia's switch to greener vehicles as well as help businesses in regional and rural areas upgrade their industrial and agricultural equipment.

Yates said that since the program was announced in June it had received enquiries about using finance for boom sprayers for irrigators, finance to install a sawdust-fired boiler to heat a glasshouse, finance for energy efficient vehicles and an upgrade of efficient new machinery for kitchen cabinetry manufacturers.

"A carpet manufacturer is financing a new tufter that can produce nearly double the output of its old machine for similar energy needs," he said.

Simple solutions to state-of-the-art

The CEFC in conjunction with Commonwealth Bank has up to $200 million available to businesses and not-for-profits accessing the Energy Efficient Loan (EEL) program, which typically provides loans up to $5 million for energy saving technologies.

Some projects already financed through the EEL program include:

  • A Victorian label producer installing five state-of-the-art printing presses that use less than half the energy of the old ones and operate at twice the speed
  • A Sydney car dealership installing LED lighting and solar to halve its electricity use
  • A Goulburn Valley produce supplier installing new refrigeration, solar PV and a fruit grader to boost its long-term viability in a competitive market
  • A regional abattoir and rendering business using a gas-fired generator to enhance energy supply stability and reduce its grid-electricity use by about a third.

EEL finance can also be used for technologies such as heat exchangers, efficient motors pumps and fans, solar systems and battery storage, compressed air and variable speed drives.

Driving cleaner vehicle investment

The CEFC and Firstmac, a leading non-bank lender, have up to $50 million available to help accelerate adoption of low emissions and electric vehicles, as well as solar, and energy efficient equipment.

The program of asset finance leases and loans is available for a wide range of commercial activities, manufacturing, logistics, agribusiness, retail and all levels of government as well as schools, hospitals and clubs. 

It can be used to install solar panels and inverters, solar thermal for hot water and battery storage. It also includes installation of energy efficient air-conditioning systems, building control systems, refrigeration and variable speed drives.

The big picture

Yates said the CEFC's involvement in these programs was part of the CEFC's broader activities using a commercial investment approach to overcome market barriers and mobilise investment in clean energy technologies.

Since its inception, the CEFC has committed over $1.4 billion in finance towards more than $3.5 billion in projects and about a third of this figure represents investment in energy efficient technologies.

For further details about any of the CEFC's financing program and projects please visit the CEFC's website at: www.cefc.com.au.