CEFC commits $120 million to Perth innovation hub

Curtin University will receive a $120 million investment from the Clean Energy Finance Corp (CEFC) to support the development of its new innovation hub. 

The CEFC investment will see the next generation of Curtin University students reap the benefits of clean energy, via new student accommodation within the university’s Perth innovation hub. The mixed-use Exchange development will deliver improvements in energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions while providing world-class educational facilities.

CEFC CEO, Ian Learmonth, said, “We are delighted to extend our presence in Western Australia, financing student accommodation as part of this landmark project with a leading institution such as Curtin University.

“We see WA as playing an increasing role in Australia’s transition to lower emissions, given the size and diversity of the state economy and the appetite for innovation.

“Already we have financed the major Avertas energy-from-waste facility in Perth, invested in the Pilgangoora lithium mine in the Pilbara, and helped deliver the largest integrated off-grid solar and battery storage facility in Australia, at Sandfire’s DeGrussa Copper-Gold Mine.

“We are also investing in exciting low emissions projects in agriculture and business in WA. Together these projects are delivering financial and environmental benefits to the state, demonstrating how WA can benefit from clean energy related investments.”

The CEFC has committed up to $120 million in debt finance towards Curtin University’s $300 million Perth-based Exchange project. Construction is due to start in August, with the first stage of the development to open in January 2022.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said, “Exchange has been designed to transform Curtin’s main Perth Campus into a major innovation hub where research, industry and the wider community will be able to come together to drive real-world solutions to tomorrow’s challenges in one convenient location, so I am absolutely delighted that this important milestone has been achieved.

“Our new student accommodation will be located in the heart of our main Perth Campus, and has been designed to complement our current 1150 student accommodation beds. 

“The new development will target five-star Green Star Design and As Built, which includes water recycling, energy minimisation initiatives and is situated close to Curtin’s bus interchange.”

InfraRed Capital Partners’ Chief Executive, Werner von Guionneau, said, “We are delighted to partner with a leading organisation such as Curtin University to work on this unique project to deliver and manage world class facilities which will enhance the learning experience of students for decades to come.

“The project incorporates various sustainable initiatives and alternative energy generation sources to ensure long-term sustainability and reduce the overall impact of the development on the environment. Our involvement in this project is a further example of InfraRed’s commitment to sustainable infrastructure.”

The Exchange development is expected to save more than 2,455 tonnes of carbon emissions annually – the equivalent of taking about 520 cars off the road each year.  

To achieve that target, integrated sustainability initiatives will include a high-performance building façade, energy efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning, energy efficient internal lighting systems and more than 300kw of solar PV across the project.

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