energy efficiency
According to the CEFC, Australia has more than 560 local councils, which spend more than US$32bn annually on housing and community amenities, as well as transport and communications infrastructure

In Australia, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation has launched a $250 million (US$183,107,500) finance programme to aid councils invest in clean energy technology in a bid to reduce their energy costs and carbon emissions.

In order to qualify for CEFC financing, the total cost of a project needs to be greater than $10 million (US$7,325,500), however, several councils may enter into joint financing agreements that meet the $10 million threshold, reports Australian business newspaper The Fifth State.

It adds that the local government finance programme has been designed to provide “flexible and competitive fixed-rate, long-term finance tailored to the needs of Australian councils”.

Funds can be drawn over a three-year period and will provide access to fixed-rate senior debt for up to 10 years. The corporation is targeting projects that seek to reduce emissions and “provide a renewal source of energy”.

These projects include building upgrades and retrofits that improve energy efficiency, energy-from-waste projects, LED street lighting installations, projects that improve heating, ventilation and air conditioning, provide renewable energy sources at leisure and aquatic centres (generally large power users), rooftop solar PV projects for council buildings, electric and low-emission vehicles, along with charging stations.

While these projects are targeted, the CEFC is also considering other projects that cover renewable energy, energy efficiency and low-emissions technologies.

Improving council energy efficiency

CEFC executive director for corporate and project finance Paul McCartney said: “Australia has more than 560 local councils, which spend more than $32 billion (US$23,441,600,000) annually on housing and community amenities, as well as transport and communications infrastructure.

“The CEFC’s financing solutions can help councils proactively manage these costs, whether through reducing energy consumption in high-use areas such as leisure and aquatic centres or accessing fleet financing to enable the council’s conversion to electric vehicles.”

McCartney continued on to say that councils have potential to realise increased savings through the implementation of renewable energy, energy efficiency and low-emissions technologies. He said that through decreased energy use, councils could reduce ongoing operating costs which “may be sufficient for councils to repay the loan without impacting their net cash flows”.