Australia's green bank supports new renewable energy fund

Australian asset manager Infrastructure Capital Group (ICG) has raised AUD100m (€63.4m) from the government-owned green bank Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

Its new Australian Renewables Income Fund (ARIF) will focus on large-scale wind and solar technologies, as well as emerging opportunities in energy-from-waste, battery storage and pumped-storage hydroelectricity.

ICG managing director Tom Laidlaw said the fund had received strong initial support from institutional investors to build on its portfolio of renewable energy assets in Australia.

ARIF will invest in operating assets as well as new developments.

“ICG has invested in renewable energy assets on behalf of investors since 2007, over which time institutional demand has grown significantly,” said Laidlaw.

“ARIF offers investors access to a high-quality portfolio of operating renewable energy assets and a platform for future growth in the sector.”

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said: “Through ARIF, investors will have exposure to a broad range of renewable energy technologies, providing attractive options to deepen their exposure to clean energy opportunities.”

The investment in ARIF represents an almost 40% increase in the CEFC’s renewables equity portfolio, which now stands at AUD355m.

EFC Equity lead Rory Lonergan said: “Institutional investors are expressing an increasing appetite for environmentally responsible investment opportunities, alongside heightened scrutiny on the climate risk issues within their portfolios.”

He added: “While there are currently limited fund style opportunities for institutional investors to get equity exposure to renewable energy assets, we expect this investment class to continue to grow in the future as renewables deliver a larger share of our energy generation.”

Since 2013, CEFC has committed more than AUD2bn in debt finance to accelerate the development of almost three gigawatts of renewable energy, in groups such as Palisade Investment Partners, the Foresight Group and HRL Morrison & Co.

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