CEFC and NAB = energy efficiency

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is committing an additional $180 million in finance to the NAB Energy Efficient Bonus program, following its success in helping Australian businesses transform their energy use. The Energy Efficient Bonus program provides customers with a 0.7 per cent discount on NAB’s standard equipment finance rate for loans for eligible clean energy investments, such as vehicles, energy efficient irrigation systems, solar PV, building upgrades, lighting upgrades, processing line improvements and refrigeration.

The new finance means the CEFC has now committed $300 million to the NAB Energy Efficient Bonus program, which was launched in 2015 with an initial $120 million commitment from the CEFC.

Through the NAB Energy Efficient Bonus program, customers looking to purchase and install new equipment can approach their local bank manager and discuss the potential to finance more energy efficient alternatives or renewable technologies. Discounted loans are available for up to 10 years for amounts between $10,000 and $5 million.

CEFC Head of Portfolio Management Paul Greenop said the Energy Efficient Bonus program had already provided finance for more than 1,000 clean energy assets across Australia.

Two good examples:

GV Storage in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley is a second-generation apple and pear business that processes around 66,000 bins of fruit annually, requiring high-energy consumption. The business has installed a 506 kW rooftop solar system which is generating enough power to meet more than 65 per cent of the business’s significant energy needs due to the large amount of power required for packing, storage and delivery.

The project is eligible to receive Large- Scale Generation Certificate (LGC) credits for its energy generation.

Victoria’s historic family-owned Tahbilk winery, established in 1860, has 200 hectares of vine and produces more than 100,000 cases of wine each year, exporting to the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland and Scandinavia. It operates a café, eco trails, cellar door and an eco-cruise. Tahbilk decided to install 100 kw of solar PV, which is expected to provide electricity for around 15 to 20 per cent of power supply needs.

This also provides the ability to purchase fewer carbon credit offsets to maintain the winery’s carbon neutral certification status with New Zealand’s carboNZero program.

CEFC Head of Portfolio Management Paul Greenop said the Energy Efficient Bonus program had already provided finance for more than 1,000 clean energy assets across Australia.  “Accelerating the uptake of these technologies helps businesses across the country reduce their grid energy costs as well as lower their carbon emissions. At the same time, investments in new clean energy technologies can boost productivity through more efficient operating practices.”

The program has been particularly well received by NAB’s agribusiness customers, who have used the finance for a range of equipment upgrades, including in the Great Barrier Reef Catchment Area, bringing the benefits of clean energy to support the long-term health of the Reef.

Greenop explained the impact of clean energy asset finance on businesses which have made the switch to more productive and energy efficient equipment and processes, typically reducing energy costs by 10 to 20 per cent.

“When organisations look at cutting energy costs, they tend to initially think about lighting upgrades, and upgrades to air conditioning, but the possibilities are far greater. We’re also seeing major investment to upgrade energy intensive manufacturing and agricultural equipment, as well as solid investment in more efficient light vehicles and rooftop solar PV,” he said.