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20 Oct 2020

Accelerating investment, backing technology and innovation to deliver a low emissions economy

Accelerating investment, backing technology and innovation to deliver a low emissions economy

20 October 2020 

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation will prioritise investment in innovative technology and financing solutions to further accelerate emissions reduction in the year ahead. This includes accelerating measures to deliver a stronger, cleaner electricity grid, investing in large scale energy storage solutions and backing emerging opportunities in hydrogen. 

Bolstered by a strong performance in the 2019-20 financial year, CEFC investment commitments since inception reached $8.2 billion to 30 June 2020, helping spur $27.8 billion in clean energy initiatives across the economy.  

The CEFC Annual Report for 2019-20, tabled in the Australian Parliament, confirms the strength, breadth and depth of the CEFC investment portfolio after eight years of investment. The Annual Report also details the financial strength of the CEFC, with $1.66 billion in CEFC capital “recycled” through repayments, sales and redemptions, to be available for reinvestment by the CEFC.  

Read the report 

View our message from Ian Learmonth

CEO Ian Learmonth said the Annual Report provided compelling evidence of the potential for Australia to achieve a low emissions economy, capitalising on innovative technology and investment solutions. With the backing of the Australian Government, CEFC investments were delivering benefits across the economy, in agriculture, infrastructure, property, transport and waste. They were also extending the benefits of reliable and affordable clean energy to an increasing number of Australians, while lifting local investment. 

“For the year ahead, we are focused on investing in a secure, affordable and sustainable energy system, to increase the share of renewable energy in a modernised electricity grid.  We are also committed to backing opportunities in energy storage in batteries, virtual power plants and pumped hydro,” Mr Learmonth said.  

“The excitement around hydrogen and recycling signals the very strong potential of these technologies to deliver a step change in emissions reduction. We will also accelerate efforts to drive down emissions from buildings, agribusiness and infrastructure, and continue to back the cleantech sector, where innovative startups are transforming the way we farm, drive and even receive our home deliveries.” 

In his letter accompanying the Annual Report, CEFC Chair Steven Skala AO said: “Since inception, sound financial management has been a hallmark of CEFC operations, driven by the acknowledgement that it invests on behalf of Australian taxpayers, with a responsibility to meet agreed policy objectives and deliver a positive financial return. In 2019–20, challenging economic conditions highlighted the importance of this commitment to prudent investment.  

In line with its role in leading the market, the CEFC is often creating the market for investment, pursuing opportunities that are economic but not yet easily bankable. As such, it assumes risks that others may not yet be familiar with, and in doing this has developed robust systems for investing and carefully managing its portfolio. 

Investment highlights: 2019-20 

  • Continued strong financial performance despite the challenging economic environment, with almost $942 million in CEFC finance repaid or recouped, alongside revenue of $205 million and a normalised surplus from operations of $100.5million 
  • CEFC investment commitments of more than $1 billion, supporting investments with a combined value of $4.2 billion in the year to 30 June 2020 and targeting more than one million tonnes of carbon abatement annually 
  • CEFC finance extended to new areas of the economy, delivering Australia’s first dedicated green bond fund, the first CEFC green home loan and a 50 per cent uplift in the capacity of Australia’s largest battery in Hornsdale, South Australia 
  • New investment commitments of just over $13 million in three cleantech innovators, as well as increased investment of $3.4 million in two other portfolio companies to accelerate their growth 
  • More than $187 million in CEFC wholesale finance to support some 6,700 smaller scale investments in clean energy projects, including in agribusiness, manufacturing, property and transport 

Portfolio highlights: 2019-20 

  • CEFC financed renewable energy projects delivering a combined 2.9 GW of renewable energy capacity to the grid, across 24 solar farms and nine wind farms 
  • Successful delivery of the FarmPrint pilot, a unique tool to enable Australian farmers to monitor, benchmark and evaluate their on-farm carbon footprint, drawing on a unique collaboration between the CSIRO, MIRA and the CEFC 
  • First ASX-listing of an Innovation Fund portfolio company, with Geelong-based Carbon Revolution raising $90.1 million in its initial public offering, (including $30 million as a primary raise and $60.1 million as a secondary selldown) 
  • Major progress in two landmark energy from waste projects, with Avertas Energy achieving significant development milestones in its Perth facility and Melbourne’s South Eastern Organics Processing Facility becoming fully operational, diverting household garden and food waste from landfill by converting into high grade compost.  
  • Independent recognition for the outstanding sustainability achievements of six CEFC investee companies, including in energy from waste, energy storage, commercial and residential property and infrastructure. 

About the CEFC  

The CEFC has a unique role to increase investment in Australia’s transition to lower emissions. With the backing of the Australian Government, we invest to lead the market, operating with commercial rigour to address some of Australia’s toughest emissions challenges – in agriculture, energy generation and storage, infrastructure, property, transport and waste. We’re also proud to back Australia’s cleantech entrepreneurs through the Clean Energy Innovation Fund, and invest in the development of Australia’s hydrogen potential through the Advancing Hydrogen Fund. With $10 billion to invest on behalf of the Australian Government, we work to deliver a positive return for taxpayers across our portfolio. 

Media release, 2020