The Government has today issued a new Investment Mandate for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) designed to strengthen its ability to support the Government’s energy policy priorities, but the CEFC says it aligns with work already being undertaken.
The Government has directed the CEFC to support the development of a market for firming intermittent sources of renewable energy and to prioritise investments that support more reliable, 24/7 power.
It states the CEFC will have to take into consideration the potential effect on reliability and security of supply when evaluating renewable energy generation investment proposals.
An additional provision requires the CEFC to prioritise its investments with a view to support increased reliability and security of electricity supplies.
CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth recognised the new direction, but said it’s business as usual for the CEFC.
“We have already invested in projects that incorporate smart controls, batteries, weather predicting technology and Frequency Control and Ancillary Services (FCAS) which support reliability or security of electricity supply,” Mr Learmonth said.
“While the market is still emerging for many of these technologies, our investment pipeline includes technologies such as large-scale pumped hydro, household and grid scale batteries, synchronous condensers and other technologies which can support reliability or security of electricity supply.
“Importantly the new Mandate does not prevent the CEFC from continuing to invest in intermittent renewable energy such as wind and solar, after the CEFC has considered effects on the reliability and security of the grid.
“We are looking forward to continuing to invest heavily in solar, wind, hydro, bioenergy and other technologies in the renewable energy sector.”
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The CEFC has also been directed to continue to focus on emerging and innovative clean energy technologies with a view to further reduce the risk of the CEFC crowding out private finance in more established renewable energy markets.
The government says these changes ensure that the CEFC will continue to support the Government’s plan for more affordable, reliable energy for Australian families and businesses.
They follow on from the recent statutory review of the CEFC completed by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.
The CEFC says it was consulted and constructively engaged in the development of the Investment Mandate, which has been accepted by the CEFC Board.
The Mandate announcement comes just a day after the government released its Underwriting New Generation Investments program, which gives existing coal and gas plants eligibility for life extensions, in the aim of firming energy supply.
Nichola Davies reports.