No sense in green bank jeers
I DON’T like the Federal Coalition Government’s vindictive campaign against the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
They have tried to abolish the green development bank twice through legislation rejected in the Senate and now they are seeking to hobble it through directives limiting its ability to invest in the most viable later stage clean energy projects.
This is bad for Australia and bad for North Queensland where there are so many exciting projects which could deliver badly needed investment, jobs and lower electricity prices.
It is worth people here noting the corporation’s stated achievements so far. In two years, about $ 1.4 billion of public finance has been invested in partnership with the private sector into clean energy projects valued at over $ 3.5 billion. That is $ 1.80 in private funds committed for every public dollar. Those investments are expected to yield a weighted average return of 6 per cent. In other words, the corporation is making us money.
Partnerships have been established with companies such as Origin Energy, National Australia Bank, the Commonwealth Bank and the EG Group to name a few in projects ranging from upgrading the energy efficiency of old office buildings to big solar projects at remote mine sites.
The corporation has financed projects for businesses that employ more than 35,000 people.
We are crying out for localised generation to wean us off expensive coal- fired power transmitted from plants hundreds of kilometres to the south. Sadly, there is a lot of misinformation about the adequacy of renewable energy from an anti- green and pro- coal lobby. At the retail level, however, we already pay 30c a kilowatt hour for subsidised coal- fired power. This does not account for an annual $ 630 million bill paid by government to provide us with electricity prices that are somewhere near that of Brisbane. And there is no account of fossil fuel emissions which are the main driver of climate change.
The Coalition’s attitude to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation looks to be driven more by ideology than common sense and is a scandalous state of affairs.