CEFC to give local councils a boost for low-carbon transitions

Australia’s local government councils will be given extra incentive to invest in clean technologies via a new $250 million program from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The program, launched late last week, is designed to provide flexible and competitive fixed-rate, long-term finance tailored to the needs of Australian councils, as they invest in renewable energy and other technologies essential to the low-carbon transition.

CEFC executive director of corporate and project finance, Paul McCartney, said there were compelling reasons for Australian councils to take proactive steps to manage their energy use.

“Local governments across Australia administer a vast network of street lights, community centres, libraries, sport and recreation facilities and other public access buildings,” he said.

“We see strong potential for operational savings through a range of renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies.”

Of course, many Australian councils have, themselves, already recognised this potential and acted on it.

But the CEFC hopes its Local Government Finance Program will provide many more with access to finance to help accelerate this trend even more.

“Australia’s has more than 560 local councils, which spend more than $32 billion annually on housing and community amenities, as well as transport and communications infrastructure,” McCartney said.

“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.

Key elements of the program include finance for eligible projects across renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies; loans of up to $10 million for each single project or package of works and a three-year drawing-down period.

It also offers the option for multiple councils to enter into joint financing agreements for eligible projects, as well as access to competitive fixed-rate longer-dated senior debt (up to 10 years) and the benefit of a straightforward approval process with simple loan documentation.

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