Media

Australia's Energy Future: Achieving the goals of energy security, sustainability and affordability

2 March 2017

CEFC Chair Ms Jillian Broadbent AO canvassed the following themes in comments to a discussion on "Australia's Energy Future: Achieving the goals of energy security, sustainability and affordability." 

AUSTRALIA'S ENERGY SYSTEM 

"Australia's electricity system is seeing significant new investment, with clean energy solutions entering the market at increasing scale and price competitiveness as we look to achieve an energy system that is secure, affordable and sustainable. 

"Australia's energy mix can incorporate higher levels of clean energy with strengthened transmission, better demand management systems and increased storage capacity. These need to be planned and co-ordinated." 

HOW THE CEFC CAN CONTRIBUTE 

"When we think about energy security, sustainability and affordability, CEFC investment finance can be part of the solution. Our investments can include: 

  • Storage and grid-scale batteries - to reduce volatility and increase system strength 
  • Strengthened transmission - between regions, and within regions, to unlock least-cost renewable energy resources 
  • Behind-the-meter solutions - to enable increased solar and storage, as well as demand response solutions as core components of a resilient network 
  • New business models - using innovation and technology to unlock more value from distributed energy resources 
  • Frequency control services - in the form of hardware, data collection and control software, as well as encouraging market participation as part of our financing commitment." 

TECHNOLOGY AND MARKET DESIGN 

"As an investor in the clean energy space - the more we do, the more we see potential. 

"We have now exceeded $3 billion in cumulative commitments. This CEFC finance has catalysed additional private sector investment into clean energy projects valued at more than $7 billion. 

"We think about those benefits in terms of clean energy and carbon emissions, but of course there are economic and employment benefits too. 

"Where are we investing? Economy wide. Here's one example: Just over a year ago, we launched a $250 million financing program to kick start investment in large-scale solar in Australia, alongside a parallel grants program from ARENA. 

"We're close to finalising the transactions under our program, and we're seeing falling technology costs. Now we're looking to have the same impact with large-scale storage, also working alongside ARENA to support the accelerated deployment of batteries and pumped hydro." 

BARRIERS TO INVESTMENT 

"Identifying and helping overcome barriers to investment is one of the main reasons the CEFC was created. These barriers can be in the form of lack of data, lack of demonstration effect and lack of experience. 

"Businesses and households are already taking action to manage energy use and costs by investing in clean energy. In fact, we have financed more than 1,000 smaller-scale transactions, for a total of more than $150 million invested. 

"Recent events in the energy markets suggest there will be an increasing appetite for these kinds of investments." 

INNOVATION AND CLEAN ENERGY 

"We've had the Clean Energy Innovation Fund up and running for less than a year. Already we have made three investments in innovative Australian companies at the forefront of creating a clean energy system of the future. 

"Just this week we had a roomful of investors meet with 10 clean energy entrepreneurs seeking finance in our first Innovators Demo Day. One strong theme was the focus on the integration of sustainable energy production and storage at the household level, fortifying the grid's stability and making energy more affordable. 

"This is an economic sector in the making, and an exciting opportunity for clean energy and the broader Australian economy." 

CEFC AS A CATALYST FOR INVESTMENT 

"We're working with regulators and the broader energy sector to share our knowledge about the changing energy system. We continue to see our role as a catalyst to new investment in delivering a clean energy system of the future - one that ensures that sustainability is not just an idea that is tacked onto existing objectives of security and affordability, but is integral to those objectives." 

 

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE 

"Australia's Energy Future: Achieving the goals of energy security, sustainability and affordability" was hosted by the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Speakers included: Ms Candace Vahlsing, Senior Energy and Climate Change Advisor to US President Obama; Ms Jillian Broadbent AO, Chair, Clean Energy Finance Corporation; Mr Kobad Bhavnagri, Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Dr Jenny Riesz, Australian Energy Market Operator. Moderated by Ms Nicky Ison, UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures.