Australian investment manager QIC announced, on behalf of its managed clients the Future Fund and those invested in the QIC Global Infrastructure Fund (QGIF), its $800m investment alongside AGL Energy Limited (AGL) in the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF).
This strategic partnership is the first of its kind in the development of large scale renewable energy infrastructure in Australia.
PARF will be a A$2-3bn ($1.49 – 2.24bn) owner of more than 1,000MW of large-scale renewable energy projects to support Australia's renewable energy capacity and transition to a low-carbon economy. Once fully invested, PARF expects to own approximately 10% of Australia's renewable energy capacity.
The Federal Government's Renewable Energy Target (RET) requires Australia to have approximately 20% of its power sourced from large-scale renewable energy by 2020
Today, total renewable energy capacity in Australia installed or under construction is approximately 50% of this target (c.5,000MW). This has taken 14 years to build since the first target was set in 2002
Generation from PARF will be approximately >3,000GWh
This will abate circa 2.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions OR
Is enough power to power circa 530,000 homes OR
Is equivalent to removing circa 800,000 cars from the road
QIC CEO Damien Frawley said the partnership was a positive and important national step in the global trend towards decarbonisation: "QIC is proud to create this 'first of a kind' partnership between institutional capital and a key energy industry participant such as AGL.
Damien Frawley said: "PARF is the most significant step to date towards meeting the Australian Federal Government's Renewable Energy Target (RET), and should contribute up to 10% towards the overall target. This is the equivalent of taking 800,000 cars off the road or saving approximately 2.7 million tons of greenhouse gas. At the same time we expect to deliver strong risk-adjusted returns for key clients by developing a pipeline of large scale renewable energy generation in Australia.
"We have a track record of strong ESG practices within the assets we acquire and then actively managing them. This partnership is a significant and more strategic step to develop the Australian renewables sector as a whole, while delivering target investment returns for our clients."
QIC global infrastructure head Ross Israel said: "We expect renewables, in combination with energy storage and smart grid technologies, to disrupt the existing electricity value chain in the future.
"This partnership paves the way for future investment that supports Australia's transition to a low-carbon economy.
"Development of renewables infrastructure has previously been risky for institutional capital. Barriers to investment included policy uncertainty, the resulting pricing fluctuations and the difficulty for industry participants and institutional investors alike to finding partners with both the expertise and the capital to work across the whole renewables value chain.
Israel said: "In partnership, QIC and AGL are able to develop, own and manage both existing (brownfield) and new (greenfield) renewable assets, while establishing a governance framework to derisk the investment. The relationship leverages AGL's development expertise, and their scale as one of Australia's largest energy retailers, to provide long term offtake (retail sale) agreements. QIC brings active asset management expertise and deep sector capability.
"We considered our entry strategy into renewables in Australia for many years. It's now pleasing to have secured this partnership with AGL. Through it we can provide our clients with a portfolio diversification strategy into Australian renewables."
AGL managing director & CEO Andy Vesey said: "We are pleased to have such high quality fund managers backing the PARF, and to seeing this initiative spur investment and development in support of Australia's transition to a low-carbon economy."
In addition to the A$800 million commitment from QIC's managed clients, AGL has provided A$200m ($149.4m) of cornerstone equity. PARF will be a key part of Australia's renewable energy capacity representing around 10% by 2020 upon successfully reaching 1,000MW.