The purchase of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest tracking solar power plant in Alice Springs raised a few eyebrows this week, garnering a bit of rare (but much-needed) good publicity for the venerable Commonwealth Bank along the way.
The CBA of course was one of the big five banks who got Treasurer Wayne “Knuckles” Swan all hot under the collar this week for not passing on the full Reserve Bank interest rate cut of twenty five basis percentage points. The big banks, as is their want these days, mumbled and ummed and ahhed and tried to convince punters that their billion dollar profits didn’t reflect how well they were travelling financially. According to the big bank executives, they are, in fact, poorer than country mice with a nasty drug habit.
But I digress folks…
This week the Commonwealth Bank put its (or our) money where its renewable mouth is and financed the buying of the Uterne power plant in Alice Springs. The one-megawatt, three thousand panel station, which has been operating for one year, has been sold to the Australian-based alternative energy company Epuron.
Dare I say hats off Commonwealth Bank? After all renewable energy projects in Australia are largely in the hands of the bankers. Investors in large-scale solar power plants realise that government promises for financial support of Australia’s renewables industry does for reliability what an Alan Jones finishing school does for common decency.
Will this be the impetus projects such as the solar tracking plant need for other financial institutions to start financing renewables project such as solar farms?
The Epuron press release of 3 October certainly gives this idea the nudge stating that the “Commonwealth Bank, Australia’s leading provider of integrated financial services, has provided project financing, making it the country’s first major bank to support a solar project of this size.”
So next time you shake your fist at the latest news item or worthy study showing big banks passing on Reserve Bank interest rate rises faster than you can say “taxpayer bailout” — but then being loathe to pass on full cuts (if at all) — draw at least some comfort in knowing that the Commonwealth Bank is putting at least some of that money they haven’t passed on to mortgage holders back into the country’s renewable energy projects.
Amen to that…