Australian Energy Minister Chris Bowen announced on Friday he and United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry had signed a letter of intent to break down barriers for U.S. companies looking to invest in Australia’s clean energy industries and increase renewables deployment.
The Clean Energy Demand Initiative (CEDI) is expected to serve as a platform to connect Australia with U.S.-based companies seeking to rapidly deploy clean energy to offset electricity demand in their sectors.
Bowen said the signing of the CEDI will make it easier to encourage cost-competitive and efficient markets and implement credible and transparent systems for investors.
“By setting up a favourable market environment for investment, we are signalling to U.S. companies that we welcome international partners to support our clean energy future,” he said.
“The initiative also sends a signal to the world that Australia is open for business as a reliable investment as the world heads towards net zero emissions by 2050.”
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) said Amazon, Google and Unilever are among a group of nine U.S.-headquartered companies that have already lent their support to the CEDI, expressing interest in investing in Australia’s clean energy generation infrastructure.
“Together, these companies seek to unlock between $US2.2-$US2.8 billion ($3.3-$4.2 million) in Australia’s clean energy infrastructure arising from commercial and industrial sector operations,” the DOS said in a statement.
“Many of these firms are already working with their supply chain partners in Australia and confirm the desire to support their suppliers with clean energy procurement as more options become available.”
Online retail giant Amazon is among those to have already established a firm foothold in the Australian renewable energy landscape, signing long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) for a combined 262 MW of clean energy capacity across three utility-scale renewable projects in Australia.
The three projects, including the 150 MW Suntop and the 110 MW Gunnedah solar farms in regional New South Wales, are expected to generate a combined 717,000 MWh of renewable energy annually for Amazon.
The DOS said Australia’s addition to the CEDI could serve as a model for other countries working to expand corporate procurement of renewable energy.
“The experience and expertise of Australia’s regulators, utilities, and private sector, and the Australian government’s active engagement on regional energy security, will be valuable additions to the CEDI,” it said.
Bowen said the signing of the CEDI was another step towards closer ties between Australia and the U.S. on climate action.
“It is another milestone for our relationship with the U.S. after we signed the Australia -United States Net Zero Technology Acceleration Partnership in July,” he said.
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