As Labor and Greens Senators oppose amendments to compel the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to invest in dirty gas, the Australian Conservation Foundation has urged the federal government not to corrupt Australia’s effective and successful clean energy bank.

Labor and Greens Senators examining the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Amendment (Grid Reliability Fund) Bill have warned Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor’s proposed changes would severely undermine the CEFC’s focus on cutting emissions.

The bill would give Minister Taylor power to direct the CEFC to invest in technologies that are not renewable and make investments that would not generate a financial return.

“The CEFC has played a critical role in supporting Australia’s clean energy transition and has successfully acted as a catalyst for investment since its birth in 2012,” said ACF’s Climate Change Program Manager, Gavan McFadzean.

“Australia’s clean energy bank has been a great success story, effectively growing renewable energy while making returns for the taxpayer.

“Minister Taylor’s plans to compel the CEFC to invest in gas – even though gas projects are risky investments and gas is a polluting fossil fuel like coal – must not be allowed.

“While renewable projects funded by the CEFC deliver roughly a 7% return on investment, Minister Taylor wants to see gas projects funded even if they’re expected to make a loss.

“None of the changes proposed in the bill are needed. Under its existing legislation the CEFC can already invest in grid reliability and security projects such as energy storage, transmission, grid stabilisation and dispatchable power.

“The real reason for the bill appears to be an effort to push more investment in dirty gas.

“ACF is proud to have come up with the idea of a Clean Energy Finance Corporation in our 2010 report, Funding the transition to a clean economy.

“These proposed changes would compromise the integrity and independence of the CEFC, while giving a financial gift to the gas industry.

ACF calls on all parliamentarians – including government MPs and Senators who are concerned about climate change – to oppose moves to compromise the integrity of Australia’s popular and successful clean energy bank.”

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