Foresight expands Down Under with £100m bioenergy fund

The UK manager’s past GIB and EIB mandates helped secure Australia’s CEFC as the fund’s cornerstone investor.

UK fund manager Foresight Group has launched its first Australian infrastructure fund, a £100 million ($150 million; €142 million) vehicle focusing on bioenergy.

The Australia Bioenergy Fund (ABF) starts with an up to £50 million investment from state-backed Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to invest in a range of projects generating clean energy from agricultural, council, forestry and mining waste. ABS will invest in projects of between £1 million and £50 million.

CEFC chief executive Oliver Yates hopes the fund will kick-start the Australian bioenergy market: “We see this new fund as playing an important role in accelerating and widening the market uptake of bioenergy and energy-from-waste technologies that have a proven track record overseas, but are not yet widely deployed in Australia’s energy mix.”

Foresight is no stranger to the bioenergy sector, managing some 17 waste-to-energy projects in the UK worth more than £800 million. Over the last year, the UK manager has successfully deployed the £78 million UK Waste & Renewable Energy Investment Fund, which it launched with a seed investment from the UK’s Green Investment Bank (GIB). Foresight and the GIB have subsequently teamed up to launch the £50 million Recycling and Waste fund, which focuses on smaller-scale waste-to-energy projects.

Recently, Foresight has also helped found the UK’s Bioenergy Infrastructure Group, alongside Infracapital, Helios and Aurium. In the past, the fund manager has also partnered with the European Investment Bank.