CEFC calls for more renewables following record investment

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From pv magazine Australia

In its latest investment update, CEFC committed AUD 1.9 billion in new investments in the 2022-23 financial year, including a record AUD 1.2 billion in renewable energy and grid-related projects.

CEFC Chief Executive Officer Ian Learmonth said the government-funded corporation had worked with investors and project developers to bring forward 14 large-scale solar, wind and storage projects in the 12 months to June 30, 2023, with a total transaction value of AUD 5.7 billion.

“Investment of this scale is critical to our national goal of reaching 82% renewables by 2030,” he said. “We had a strong year last year, but a lot more needs to be done.”

Learmonth estimates that for Australia to achieve its renewables target, about 3.6 GW of large-scale renewable energy needs to be brought online each year.

“It is a big challenge,” he said. “Last year we installed about 2.5 GW of utility-scale wind and solar.”

Learmonth said developers and investors had faced numerous challenges in the past year including inflationary issues, supply chain shortages and grid constraints, noting that the CEFC is using its capital to help “deal with some of these issues and stimulate investment in renewables.”

“This has included responding to market headwinds in capex, interest rates and foreign exchange, with our capital accelerating project delivery and underpinning offtake agreements to aid proponents in navigating challenging market conditions,” he said. “Our finance is also backing larger projects, in terms of capital and generation capacity, a positive signal of investor and developer appetite in the required large-scale investments.”

In the 2022-23 financial year the CEFC committed $1.9 billion to transactions with a total value of AUD 11.7 billion. It also commenced early work on the AUD 19 billion Rewiring the Nation program, which is designed to fast-track upgrades to the national electricity grid to accommodate the influx of renewable energy.

Learmonth said he expects to announce the first Rewiring the Nation investment transactions within the next year.

The $19 billion initiative forms part of an additional $20.5 billion capital allocation approved by the federal government in 2022-23, the first increase since the CEFC was established in 2012.

Since its inception, CEFC has invested AUD 12.7 billion, taking lifetime total transaction value to AUD 48.8 billion. CEFC said its investments in large-scale renewables and transmission-related projects have contributed to transactions with a total value of AUD 18.8 billion. Capital returned to CEFC in 2022-23 was AUD 1.2 billion, taking lifetime repayments and returns to more than $4.5 billion.

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