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Ideas Needed: Clean Energy Finance Corporation

November 2, 2011

The ‘Expert Review’ of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), through the Treasury, has released a request for submissions to assist them with ideas as to governance; investment mandate; risk management; and implementation.

The Australian Government has been badly burnt by mismanagement in it’s clean energy investment programs.

Spending $10 billion over five years in a responsible and profitable manner is not going to be easy.  Some previous funds (think: ‘Regional Development Fund’  under the Howard Government) became perceived as being politicised: little more than quasi-slush funds for electoral advantage.

The scope of the review is set out in the request for submissions.  It reiterates the plan to facilitate investment rather than compete with it, and to split investment into two separate streams – with one being dedicated to renewable energy and the other to energy efficiency and low emissions technologies.  Both manufacturing and projects are under consideration.

While the opposition has not obstructed passage of ARENA (the R&D/Commercialisation part of the package), they are expected to continue to oppose CEFC as it will be payable from the income of the carbon tax.  As ARENA is to be funded by dividends from CEFC, future financing of that organisation does not have bipartisan support.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation must be viewed as being as impartial as it is nominally established as being.  There will no doubt be much more examination of how technology, philosophical, and political preferences are (not?) expressed within the operational rules.

 

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