Macquarie to invest in 20 GW pipeline of renewables

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From pv magazine Australia.

Macquarie Group managing director and CEO Shemara Wikramanayake has announced a series of commitments by the world’s largest infrastructure asset manager to accelerate action against climate change.

The pledges, made at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York, include the development of a 20 GW renewable energy pipeline over the next five years through Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG), and an RE100 commitment to sourcing all the group’s energy needs from renewables by 2025.

“We are increasingly broadening our focus by seeking new solutions to emissions reduction across agriculture, waste and real estate and working to ensure our infrastructure investments are more climate resilient,” said Wikramanayake in a statement on Wednesday.

In the same announcement, Macquarie said it was building on its “long track record of investing in renewable energy projects”. The group claimed it has committed more than $8 billion (US$5.4 billion) in direct and arranged finance for renewables since 2010, acquiring GIG in 2017 and bringing more than 22 GW of renewables generation capacity online.

Of its intended 20 GW pipeline of new renewables projects, around 20% would be expected to be “in non-OECD, emerging market countries where climate finance flows have historically been weaker”, said Macquarie.

GIG intends to arrange finance for many of the pipeline projects via power purchase agreements through Macquarie corporate clients. The group has already raised $1 billion of share capital via an institutional placement in August.

Agriculture

Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) is approaching final close on its most recent, $1 billion agricultural fund, which aims to improve farm energy efficiency and reduce emissions in one of the world’s most carbon-intensive industries.

“Over the past decade, we have played a leading role in facilitating the shift towards renewables,” said Wikramanayake, “with a particular focus on trying to address the various challenges that remain to full transition.”

Australian green bank the Clean Energy Finance Corporation is an investor in the MIRA agricultural fund and is working with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization to develop an emissions-reduction benchmarking model to help farmers work toward emissions intensity aims consistent with the science-based targets initiated to support the COP21 Paris Agreement.

MIRA announced it will introduce carbon and energy reporting for the portfolio of companies in its fund. “These metrics will enable MIRA to make better investment and asset management decisions and, over time, set future targets for the businesses within each fund portfolio to achieve a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” Macquarie stated.

Such reporting would hold portfolio companies accountable and credit initiatives contributing to climate-change mitigation.

Keeping score

On the renewable-assets side, GIG’s carbon score methodology will be merged with renewable energy project data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance to create a green-impact assessment tool to improve understanding of how more than 40,000 global solar and wind assets are reducing emissions.

As an RE100 signatory, Macquarie will enter power purchase agreements that support the development of new renewable energy projects to supply electricity for its new Sydney headquarters and Melbourne office. 

In January, Macquarie became one of the founders of the Climate Finance Leadership Initiative established by Michael Bloomberg, the UN secretary general’s special envoy for climate action. The group includes chief executives of companies including Allianz, Enel and HSBC, and the chief information officer of Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund. The initiative has committed to deploy US$20 billion of emerging-market climate finance by 2025.