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The University of Melbourne working with the CEFC to accelerate clean energy goals

15 February, 2016

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is lending up to $9.1 million to the University of Melbourne to finance emissions and cost-saving initiatives that will reduce the University’s energy bills, while increasing productivity and sustainability.

CEFC Executive Director – Corporate and Project Finance, Paul McCartney, said the CEFC’s finance will enable the University of Melbourne to accelerate its implementation of innovative energy efficient and renewable energy technologies, including voltage optimisation, freezer upgrades, solar photovoltaics, solar thermal and micro-turbines. The University expects these to reduce its grid electricity use by some eight per cent, and deliver carbon emissions abatement of over 9,000 tonnes per year upon project completion.

“Australia’s 39 universities make a major contribution to the national economy and to the Australian community,” Mr McCartney said. “Yet they face the ongoing challenges of public budget restraint, intensifying global competition and the need to use cutting edge technologies to meet increasing student expectations.

“Clean energy installations like those being undertaken by the University of Melbourne can help universities meet these challenges through an investment that results in reduced environmental impact, higher productivity and stronger financial performance.”

The University of Melbourne, with some 47,000 students, has the energy requirements of a town the size of Warrnambool. This highlights the significance of its commitment in seeking to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. The University is one of the leading universities across the sector working to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases, cut use of energy, and adopt more renewable and sustainable energy sources as it develops its campuses for a sustainable future.

University Vice-Principal, Administration & Finance, and Chief Financial Officer, Allan Tait, said the technologies being installed would provide a practical demonstration of the University’s strengthening commitment to sustainability.

“As a public-spirited university, Melbourne is committed to promoting sustainability through our operations, as well as in our research and education programs, particularly as the University has an obligation to show leadership in critical global issues such as those relating to climate change and sustainability,” Mr Tait said. “We are taking significant steps to reduce our environmental impact with the aim to move to zero emissions electricity and ultimately achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.”

As part of its Investment Mandate, the CEFC has a  focus on financing emerging and innovative renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency for cities and the built environment.

Mr McCartney said universities consume significant amounts of energy in the delivery of their services to students and their communities, through operating large campuses and facilities, as well research facilities.

“The CEFC is looking to work on similar innovative projects with other Australian universities to help them achieve increased sustainability through energy efficient and renewable technologies that reduce energy costs,” Mr McCartney said. “The CEFC’s finance can be structured over a longer term than traditionally offered by banks, tailored to match the cost savings delivered through the reduction in grid energy usage.”

Mr McCartney said around half of the energy consumption on a typical university campus is directly related to heating, ventilation and air conditioning requirements, with about one third relating to equipment and almost 20 per cent relating to lighting.

“These are all areas where the introduction of renewable energy and energy efficient equipment can really drive down energy usage and therefore significantly reduce energy emissions and costs. We see enormous potential for this important economic sector to increase its productivity and economic impact while reducing emissions through the introduction of clean energy technology.” 

ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE

The University of Melbourne was established in 1853 and is regarded as one of Australia’s leading research institutions.  It is a research-intensive comprehensive institution of 47,000 students, ranked by the Times Higher Education Supplement as first in Australia and number 33 in the world. The University’s Sustainability Plan for 2016-20 will set pathways for the University’s longer term sustainability objectives, including a transition to zero emissions electricity over coming years and to carbon neutrality by 2030. Since 2006 the university has implemented an environmental sustainability strategy for its operation that has so far reduced energy usage per floor area by around 24 per cent. A key focus will be on further energy reduction and transitioning its energy supply to renewable energy sources. Learn more about the University of Melbourne.

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