27 November 2015
Australian agribusinesses and small-scale manufacturing companies have invested more than $50 million into energy efficient equipment in just five months, drawing on funding provided by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and delivered through the National Australia Bank (NAB) Energy Efficient Bonus program.
The CEFC is providing $120 million through the NAB to incentivise Australian businesses to cut their energy and operating costs and lift business performance.
The program, which has a particular emphasis on the NAB's agribusiness and regional Australia customers, is designed to help businesses upgrade industrial and agricultural equipment, accelerate the switch to lower emissions vehicles and increase the installation of solar PV.
Take-up of the finance has been very strong, with investments occurring Australia-wide, but principally in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, according to Paul Greenop, Head of Portfolio Management at the CEFC.
"In just five months, NAB customers have invested more than $50 million in 250 transactions across a wide range of energy efficient equipment," Mr Greenop said.
"The finance is backing investments in agricultural and manufacturing plant and equipment, as well as irrigation equipment and low emissions vehicles.
"A notable aspect of the finance is the interest it is receiving from a variety of agricultural producers, including grains, beef, wool and dairy, which shows the broad benefits of energy efficient equipment."
The CEFC-NAB program offers customers access to lower cost finance over a longer period for eligible equipment. This allows customers to recoup the amount invested through the energy savings the achieve during the life of the loan.
New South Wales broadacre and irrigation farmer BD Farming and steel manufacturer Cullen Steel have both used finance through the Energy Efficient Bonus program to increase energy efficiency and lower energy costs. These are discussed in more detail in the NAB Agribusiness View magazine.
Mr Greenop added: "The CEFC has up to $5 billion available to fund energy efficiency investment. As well as the positive effect on emissions, investments in energy efficiency can have a substantial impact on the profitability of borrowers.
"With our finance, we're aiming to encourage businesses to think seriously about the equipment they are buying and choose the most energy efficient equipment when they need to upgrade their plant and machinery. In this way they can make a better selection and choose equipment that will lower their energy costs, which can then increase the productivity and the competitiveness of their business.
"With the right equipment, businesses can lower energy and operating costs, cut heating, cooling and lighting bills and even create energy from waste. Together with NAB, we want to provide an incentive for businesses in rural and regional Australia so they can act now on their energy costs by investing in high-performance, energy-efficient technologies and equipment."
(Since its launch in 2015, the Energy Efficient Bonus program provided finance to more than 1000 eligible clean energy assets across Australia. In May 2017, the CEFC committed a further $180 million to the program.)