Australia becoming less ‘timid’ on renewables

Australia, which has traditionally been “timid” when it comes to investing in renewables is going through a thematic change, according to Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners.

David Scaysbrook, Quinbrook co-founder, said the Australian superannuation industry had been pioneers in infrastructure generally but timid on the renewable energy component.

“They’ve fantastic in roads, ports, rail and other forms of core infrastructure, but generally speaking quite timid,” Scaysbrook said.

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“There’s a few reasons for that, our policy setting in Australia has been pretty dysfunctional for a long time.

“If you’re a trustee of other people’s retirement savings you cold be well forgiven for keeping your money in your pocket and not putting into Australian renewables because people have lost a lot of money on Australian renewables.”

Scaysbrook said some super funds had done better by going offshore and investing in projects overseas although but were still generally underweight.

“That’s probably showing signs at the moment of changing and what we have seen in the wake of the whole net zero debate in the last 12 months is the level of appetite and interest for renewables and climate-related thematics has picked up very significantly for Australia, but most of the interest in directed towards the United States,” Scaysbrook said.

Scaysbrook said the degree of member activism in Australia to drive the divestment agenda and to push trustee boards to do more in net zero investing was genuine.

“If you put that all together as a combination for that reason we are definitely going to see more allocation,” Scaysbrook said.

“We’re seeing more infrastructure allocations as a total of total capital allocation increasing, but within infrastructure generally, more will be allocated to things renewables in the US or South East Asia.

“There’s not many funds talking about increasing property or equities allocations, most of the debate we see is infrastructure is going up at the expense of other assets or it’s taking a bigger share of new inflows.

“The most important thing from our perspective, is we are seeing a greater willingness from a risk appetite perspective to invest in the building of new infrastructure and that’s been the most critical shift.”

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