The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has made a $150 million investment in New Zealand-owned alternative asset manager Morrison & Co, in a bid to boost the energy efficiency of some of Australia’s key social and economic infrastructure assets.
The investment is the second of its size and kind in a matter of months, following a $150 million contribution to the IFM Australian Infrastructure Fund in April, as the CEFC targets a sector that accounts for almost half the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The investment is in Morrison & Co’s $1 billion Growth Infrastructure Fund, which will acquire and manage a range of assets – ranging from hospitals to data centres, aged care accommodation and renewable energy – with potential for significant energy efficiency improvements.
“This investment is about showing how we can readily improve the way we build and operate our essential economic and social infrastructure,” said CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth, in a statement on Thursday.
“These assets are central to our economy and our wellbeing, and they are built for the long term.
“We see it as critical that new infrastructure assets are built to the highest possible clean energy standards, and that existing assets are updated with proven technologies that can lower emissions and cut energy use.
Learmonth said the CEFC expected the investment to have long-term benefits for asset owners and users, while also providing a model for other infrastructure investors and owners looking to lower their emissions.
“We have now invested $450 million in major infrastructure projects and programs, to help deliver comprehensive and sustained improvements in the carbon footprint of our infrastructure assets,” he said.
As well as the $150 million IFM Australian Infrastructure Fund investment – which targets emissions reductions in ports, airports and electricity infrastructure assets – the CEFC also contributed $150 million in debt finance to the Moorebank Logistics Park, to remove emissions-intensive trucks from Australian roads.
Morrison & Co CEO Paul Newfield said that the investment from the CEFC was well aligned with the company’s “fundamental belief” in decarbonisation as a key investment strategy.
“Morrison & Co has been investing in renewable energy for over 20 years and we are convinced that applying the decarbonisation and energy efficiency lens to a broader set of infrastructure assets will generate better long-term investment outcomes,” he said.
“We are excited to be working with the CEFC to lead the infrastructure sector in this new direction.”
Over time, the fund says it will look to progressively introduce science-based targets to build a zero emissions portfolio.
It will also draw on relevant Australian-based sustainability standards to set best-practice sustainability goals, including those of the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia, the National Australian Built Environment Rating System and the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme.
Sophie is editor of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and deputy editor of its sister site, RenewEconomy.com.au. Sophie has been writing about clean energy for more than a decade.