Media

CEFC highlights strong growth potential for clean energy in NSW

28 July 2015


The Clean Energy Finance Corporation expects to see strong growth in New South Wales for renewables, distributed energy and battery storage, and energy efficient technologies.

CEFC Chief Investment Officer Ted Dow, speaking at the NSW Resources and Energy Investment Conference in Sydney, says the CEFC has already made NSW investments of over $130 million, in projects worth over $600 million.

The CEFC has identified a further $1 billion in investment opportunities which could help accelerate more than $4 billion in NSW projects.

"The CEFC is in discussion with many proponents for potential projects across NSW, demonstrating the growth potential for the clean energy sector in renewables, low emissions and energy efficient technologies," Mr Dow said.

In the utility market, to meet Australia's 33,000GWh Renewable Energy Target, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) estimates that nearly 7.75GW of new large-scale capacity will need to be built by 2020, with investment of nearly $14 billion needed.

The CEFC has already demonstrated its ability to invest in utility scale projects, with an investment of around $45 million for the Moree Solar Farm, which is currently under construction. When operational, as expected in 2016, this project will provide enough power for about 15,000 homes, abating over 95,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year. The use of innovative single-axis tracking is estimated to increase daily production by up to 30 per cent compared with fixed-axis technology. (UPDATE: Moree Solar Farm began generating solar power in March2016)

The CEFC has also recently announced its investment in Australia's largest solar PV and storage facility for a mining project in Western Australia.

"The rise of solar storage is a game-changer in the energy sector," Mr Dow said. "We recently committed up to $15 million in finance towards a $40 million solar and storage project at Sandfire Resources' DeGrussa copper mine in Western Australia, to demonstrate the technology's ability to supplement power supplies in remote areas.

"On a smaller scale, the dynamic trends driving uptake of solar and battery storage and other on-site energy technologies are expected to continue as business seeks to counter the impact of energy costs on business performance and improve their productivity. 

"New financing models such as leasing and Power Purchase Agreement schemes will help accelerate the deployment of these technologies, lower their costs to the consumer and widen their availability."

The CEFC is working with Origin and SunEdison to increase the accessibility of rooftop solar for businesses and householders through programs based on Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). (SunEdison investment subsequently lapsed)

"Early adopters of these technologies are already reaping the benefits of lower energy costs," Mr Dow said.

"We also see opportunities in a range of energy efficient technologies such as cogeneration, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, building monitoring systems, and energy efficient lighting, to produce long-term cost effective energy productivity gains for adopters.

"To that end, we've worked with major financial institutions including Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Firstmac to develop programs providing easier access to finance for businesses wanting to transform their operations with projects that boost energy productivity."