$120m fund to boost green energy operations in rural Australia: is your agribusiness eligible?

Thinking of upgrading your farm’s irrigation pump, refrigeration units or four-wheel-drive? Keen to install solar PV panels to cut diesel and electricity costs? Here’s some financial incentive.

Keen to install solar PV and other energy-saving equipment on-farm? Apply for an NAB equipment finance and you may be eligible for discounted rates, thanks to a new incentivisation program between NAB and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
Keen to install solar PV and other energy-saving equipment on-farm? Apply for an NAB equipment finance and you may be eligible for discounted rates, thanks to a new incentivisation program between NAB and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
David Blaikie, Flickr CC, httpswwwflickrcomphotosnikonvscanon

In mid-May 2015, Australia’s Clean Energy Financing Corporation (CEFC) announced that it would join forces with the National Australia Bank (NAB) to reward regional businesses investing in energy-efficient equipment, ‘clean, green’ fuels, solar PV systems and other energy-saving initiatives.

The CEFC is providing $120 million through NAB in a major investment program that aims to incentivise businesses across Australia to cut their energy and operating costs. The fund will cover a broad array of operations, with emphasis, initially, on agricultural and regional operators.

In a company media release, CEFC CEO Oliver Yates said the program “is looking to incentivise business to invest in high-performance, energy-efficient technologies, including vehicles and equipment, so commercial operators in rural and regional Australia can benefit from lower energy and operating costs while reducing emissions”.

“Cutting energy costs has never been more important for Australian businesses,” Yates contended. “Australia spends more than $120 billion a year on energy – that’s a 67 percent increase over 10 years. With the right equipment, businesses can lower energy and operating costs, cut heating, cooling and lighting bills and even create energy from waste.”

Ian Corderoy's (Narromine Farmer) 100kW Solar PV for irrigation
Ian Corderoy's (Narromine Farmer) 100kW Solar PV for irrigation
Macquarie 2100

The focus of the CEFC-NAB program is on funding rural and agricultural businesses improving their energy-efficiency profiles by upgrading equipment, buildings and facilities, and implementing ‘green energy’ technology and systems. Eligible for funding under the program will be those planning to invest in:

  • variable speed pumps for use in irrigation,
  • upgrades to industrial and commercial refrigeration and lighting that reduce energy use significantly,
  • equipment and technology that converts organic waste into ‘clean energy’ such as biogas,
  • bio-digesters and micro-turbines,
  • fuel-switching equipment and processes,
  • rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installations, solar-thermal hot water systems, heat pumps and solar PV (to displace diesel generation).

Businesses can also seek CEFC/NAB financing for various associated activities and assets, including acquiring fuel-efficient, hybrid and electric vehicles and more energy-efficient, sustainable infrastructure.

This gigantic biogas storage dome and covered anaerobic lagoon are part of the new methane conversion plant at Oakey Beef Exports' Queensland abattoir.
This gigantic biogas storage dome and covered anaerobic lagoon are part of the new methane conversion plant at Oakey Beef Exports' Queensland abattoir.
CTS Wastewater

To qualify, apply for an NAB Equipment Loan, Hire Purchase or Finance Lease and if the equipment you plan to lease or buy meets CEFC criteria for energy-efficient assets, the bank will deduct 0.7 percent per annum from the finance rate. You also get NAB’s standard equipment finance options, including a customised repayment schedule and zero deposit.

“This investment program is available to provide an incentive for businesses to act now,” Yates said. “Energy use is a major cost for Australia’s agricultural sector and, unless addressed, can adversely affect Australia’s economic competitiveness.”

The program will also support financing for a range of eligible projects under the government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), helping our regional businesses to remain competitive in a carbon-constrained world.

For more information, go to the CEFC site.

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