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Major Australian infrastructure signs on to groundbreaking $700 million renewable energy program to reduce emissions, costs & market volatility

Wednesday 12 June 2024 5 mins read

Some of Australia’s most important infrastructure assets, including Sydney Airport and Port of Melbourne, signed on to the final stage of the highly successful Australian Infrastructure Renewable Energy Program led by IFM Investors and QIC - two of Australia’s largest infrastructure fund managers[1]. 

The program, valued at over A$700million, will facilitate the supply of over 500GWh of renewable energy per annum once all of the assets roll onto the program[2]. They will aim to help Australia’s critical infrastructure businesses in IFM and QIC’s portfolios save costs, reduce exposure to energy market volatility and cut emissions.   

Launched in March 2022, Stage 1 of the program included seven critical infrastructure assets across New South Wales and Victoria - Melbourne Airport, NSW Ports, Southern Cross Station, Ausgrid, Nexus Hospitals, NorthWestern Roads Group’s WestLink M7 and Transurban’s CityLink. 

The program involves IFM and QIC facilitating the making of offers by energy retailers and generators to the participating assets to supply renewable energy. The assets can then elect, at their discretion, to enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the supplier. 

In November 2022, Brisbane Airport signed on for Stage 2 of the program. 

Announced today, Stage 3 will see additional infrastructure and healthcare assets sign on to the program, bringing the total size of the program to over 500 GWh per annum at its peak.  The program has expanded beyond infrastructure to include PRP Diagnostic Imaging, an investment in IFM’s Private Equity portfolio.

The assets signing as part of Stages 3 include: 

  • Sydney Airport  
  • Adelaide Airport  
  • PRP Diagnostic Imaging
  • Port of Melbourne 
  • Lochard Energy  
  • Nexus Hospital
  • Healius Limited 

The energy suppliers for Stage 3 are Iberdrola and Squadron Energy, joining Origin Energy and Stanwell as suppliers to the assets who joined the program in Stages 1 and 2.  

The multiple deals were structured by CORE Markets, an independent renewable energy, markets and sustainability advisory firm.   

By 2025, the entire three-stage program is expected to save around 260,000 tonnes of CO2 annually[3]. That is estimated to be the equivalent of reducing the carbon footprint of every home in a regional town the size of Ballarat in Victoria, or Toowoomba in Queensland, to zero. 

The demand for renewable energy created by the program could also pave the way for further investment in renewable projects, helping to accelerate the greening of Australia’s energy grid and supporting the creation of hundreds of new jobs. 

Demonstrating the success of the program, this Stage 3 group will surpass Stage 1 as the largest contracted load (in aggregate), as part of the largest multi-asset, multi-state PPA program in Australia.

Six participating assets have net zero Scope 1 and 2 targets for 2030 or before. These assets have made significant progress towards their net zero targets for Scope 1 and 2 emissions through a combination of participation in the program, as well as other sustainability initiatives such as constructing behind the meter solar farms, installing energy efficient lighting and using electric vehicles.

The program will also assist in reducing Scope 3 emissions. The structure of the PPAs has allowed assets to become approved renewable energy providers, meaning that on-site businesses, partners and retailers (who contribute part of an asset’s Scope 3 emissions) can choose that asset as their electricity supplier and renewable power provider. For example, Melbourne Airport is the first airport in Australia to become an accredited GreenPower provider. 

These net zero commitments also contribute to IFM’s and QIC’s own net zero targets, including the 2030 interim emission reduction targets for infrastructure announced by each company in 2022.   

In December last year IFM, alongside eight major profit-to-member super funds, representing around $1 trillion of industry super capital, released, Super-powering the energy transition: A policy blueprint to facilitate superannuation investment, which outlines recommendations to federal and state governments on policy solutions to help drive greater investment into Australia’s energy transition.

IFM Investors and QIC collectively manage over A$140 billion[4] worth of infrastructure assets globally.     

Quotes attributable to Michael Hanna, IFM Investors Head of Infrastructure Australia: 

“Generating long-term returns for our investors and the working Australians they represent means managing and mitigating the risks posed by climate change.” 

“This significant renewable energy program marks an important step for IFM’s assets and our own commitment to target net zero emissions for Scope 1 and 2. Importantly, it provides a blueprint to help more infrastructure assets switch to renewable energy and accelerate the sector’s emission reduction efforts.”   

Quote attributable to Ross Israel, QIC Head of Global Infrastructure: 

Through this important renewable energy program, we are contributing to the net zero ambitions of some of Australia’s most significant infrastructure assets, while also reducing our assets’ exposure to energy market volatility and delivering cost-savings through renewable energy.”

“The renewable PPA program is aligned to QIC’s decarbonisation investment thematic, where private capital will continue to play a critical role in funding pathways to achieve net zero targets alongside governments. This thematic has seen us grow our infrastructure platform to include some A$9.5 billion in investments supporting the transition to a low carbon economy, as we seek to mitigate the risks of climate change on our investors’ portfolio.”

Quote attributable to CORE Markets CEO Chris Halliwell: 

“Congratulations to QIC and IFM. Not only for their climate leadership, but also for setting an example in renewable energy contract innovation. The multiple deals involved many moving parts and large aggregation volumes. They resulted in significant emission reductions with favourable commercial outcomes for each entity.” 



[1] By funds under management

[2] Source: CORE Markets

[3] Stated emissions reduction factor reference: Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water

[4] As at 31 December 2023


About us:

About IFM Investors 

IFM Investors was established more than 25 years ago with the aim to invest, protect and grow the long-term retirement savings of working people. Owned by a group of Australian pension funds, the organisation has approximately A$222 billion under management as at 31 March 2024. Because IFM is owned by industry pension funds, we prioritise the interests of over 690 like-minded investors worldwide by focusing on assets that combine excellent long-term risk/reward characteristics with broad economic and social benefits to the community. As a signatory to The United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, IFM actively engages on ESG issues with the companies in which we invest with the aim of enhancing their net performance while minimising investment risk. Operating globally from offices in Melbourne, Sydney, London, Berlin, Zurich, Amsterdam, Milan, New York, Houston, Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo, IFM manages investments across infrastructure, debt, listed equities and private equity assets. For more information, visit www.ifminvestors.com


About QIC
   

QIC is a long-term specialist manager in alternatives offering infrastructure, real estate, private capital, liquid strategies and multi-asset investments. It is one of the largest institutional investment managers in Australia, with A$106bn (US$72.5bn) in funds under management. QIC has over 800 employees and serves approximately 115 clients. Headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, QIC also has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, New York, San Francisco and London. For more information, please visit: www.qic.com. (as at 31 December 2023)

About QIC Infrastructure

QIC is a long-term infrastructure investor with an established international platform, an active management approach and a proven 17-year track record. With an international team of 87 professionals across five offices, QIC Infrastructure manages A$32.8bn (US$22.4bn) across 22 international direct investments and has realised in excess of A$15.2bn back to its clients. QIC is a market leader in the Australian energy transition, managing A$7.1bn in Australian energy assets since 2007 across the energy value chain. (as at 31 December 2023)

www.qic.com/Investment-Capabilities/Infrastructure


Contact details:

For further information, please contact: 

QIC:  Susan Collins, + 61 415 961 621, scollins@qic.com

IFM Investors: Jamila Fontana, +61 407 251 130, jamila.fontana@ifminvestors.com 

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