Media

CEFC finance supports regional Australia

26 August 2015


Clean Energy Finance Corporation CEO Oliver Yates says there is significant potential for regional Australia to benefit from renewable energy and energy efficient technologies, and now is the time for communities to grasp that opportunity.

Mr Yates, who is addressing the Australian Regional Development Conference Regional Australia, Redefining the Future, in Albury on Wednesday 26 August,said innovative technologies were already reducing the cost of energy for regional communities.

"The renewable energy industry already employs about 20,000 people, and as investment in this industry grows, so too will job numbers," Mr Yates said.

"The Clean Energy Council has estimated there will be some $40 billion invested in this sector in the next five years under the revised Renewable Energy Target, creating some 15,200 jobs. It's important for regional Australia to consider how much of this renewable energy potential it can capture."

Mr Yates said the CEFC is actively working with regional Australia.

"The CEFC has more than $300 million in finance available for projects that can bring cheaper energy, local industry and jobs, strengthened local energy supplies and more energy productive work practices," Mr Yates said.

"Solar PV and batteries, more efficient irrigation systems, better air conditioning, more efficient lighting, more energy efficient vehicles and purpose built equipment are just some of the technologies that can be financed through CEFC funds."

The CEFC is working with Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Origin and Firstmac, providing finance to make it easier for businesses looking to transform their operations with energy efficient and renewable technologies.

Mr Yates pointed to the potential for a strong solar energy future for remote and regional Australia, to reduce the reliance on more expensive alternatives. Bioenergy, bioplastics and biofuels can also provide economic benefits for regional Australia while improving Australia's energy security.

"We're financing bioenergy projects in regional Australia. Queensland egg producer Darling Downs Fresh Eggs now uses its chicken waste to generate power and heat, saving both on energy costs and waste disposal.  Meat processors are generating biogas from their organic waste materials to power their own generators and saving on energy costs."

Mr Yates said improving energy efficiency was one of the best ways regional businesses could reduce their energy bills.  The CEFC has worked with agriculture and food businesses that are cutting costs and improving productivity through investing in more energy efficient equipment. These include:

  • Wodonga Abattoir and the neighbouring rendering business, which are sharing a gas-fired generator that supplies electricity, hot water and steam while reducing grid electricity use by about a third.
  • Radevski Coolstores, in Shepparton, which upgraded its coolstores to reduce refrigeration bills by about a quarter. The business then financed a fruit grader and installed rooftop solar to reduce energy bills even further.
  • Nightingale Bros, near Bright, which upgraded refrigeration and cut energy costs by just under 40 per cent.
  • South Australia's Golden North ice cream manufacturer, which upgraded its refrigeration and halved its refrigeration energy costs, while gaining equipment that reduced freezing time, allowing them to increase production.
  • Victoria's Baw Baw Shire Council which will save more than $160,000 a year by replacing its mercury vapour street lights with the most energy efficient lights. It will also cut its overall carbon emissions by 18 per cent.

The Australian Regional Development Conference, 26-28 August, is an initiative of the not-for-profit Association for Sustainability in Business Inc. For more information visit http://www.sustainability.asn.au/