Renewable energy

Renewable energy is essential to Australia's future economic growth and prosperity in a carbon-constrained world and to helping lower Australia's carbon emissions

The transformation of Australia's energy sector will require around $100 billion in investment in the renewables sector over the period to 2050.

The CEFC Act provides for a minimum of 50 per cent of the CEFC portfolio to be invested in renewable energy technologies, related enabling technologies and hybrid technologies that integrate renewable energy technologies by 1 July 2018.

In addition to utility scale investments in renewables, the CEFC has developed financing which is assisting Australian businesses to more readily access finance for renewables projects.

The CEFC's role in overcoming market impediments is to help accelerate action towards the transformation to a low carbon economy, minimise its ultimate cost and create positive adjustment for the economy, including through new forms of clean technology business, new jobs, development of new or expansion of existing businesses and development of new technological know-how.

CEFC investments to date - even at this initial phase - are demonstrating the potential to expand Australia's manufacturing capability and create new industry and employment opportunities across the country, particularly in regional areas. The investments span a range of energy sources - wind, solar and bioenergy - and different financial structures. The CEFC has co-financed utility scale investments along with other Australian and international banks, co-financed businesses to maximise their potential use of renewable energy resources, and participated in refinancing deals.

The CEFC places priority on its investments generating economic, social and environmental benefits, including building capacity and capability within the renewable and low carbon energy sector, demonstrating applications and financing for new technologies, development of new or existing businesses and development of new technologies and know-how.

Renewables currently account for only 10 per cent of electricity generated in Australia. A vibrant renewable and low carbon energy sector requires capital. Australia's renewable and low carbon energy market is an early-stage market, characterised by incomplete knowledge and limited experience of risk in newer technologies and applications. The combination of this with other market barriers has had the effect of inhibiting the efficient allocation of capital, making investment and therefore energy produced more expensive than it need be.

Renewable energy is energy which can be obtained from natural resources that can be constantly replenished including:

  • bioenergy
  • geothermal energy
  • hydro energy
  • hybrid
  • ocean energy
  • solar energy
  • wind energy

Renewable energy technologies also include those hybrid and enabling technologies that are related to renewable energy. For example, technologies that:

  • store energy generated using renewable energy
  • predict renewable energy supply
  • assist in the delivery of energy generated using renewable energy technologies to energy consumers.

A hybrid technology is one that integrates a renewable energy generation technology with other energy generation systems. An example of a hybrid technology would be a power plant which combines solar-based thermal energy with thermal energy from gas or other renewable energy sources, to provide a combined energy flow that drives the power generation from the plant.

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    Highlights

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