Foresight in first Aussie hire for £100m bioenergy fund

The UK investment manager has made its first hire in Australia to help manage its bioenergy fund.

Infrastructure investment manager Foresight Group has made the first hire for its new Sydney office, which will manage a £100 million ($142 million; €125 million) bioenergy fund.

UK-based Foresight recruited Gary Sofarelli, to set up the office and help manage the fund it launched last December. The Australian Bioenergy Fund (ABF) is a partnership vehicle with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) that will invest between £2 million and £50 million in bioenergy projects in Australia. CEFC has committed £50 million to the fund.

Foresight already manages 17 waste-to-energy projects in the UK worth more than £800 million. In Australia, it will invest in projects generating clean energy from agricultural, council, forestry and mining waste, such as small-scale anaerobic digestion plants to mid-scale waste-to-energy developments.

Sofarelli has more than 12 years of experience working in project finance, credit risk and asset management. He has worked for the infrastructure project finance team at National Australia Bank and on the energy team at WestLB, focusing on wind, conventional power, oil and natural gas.

The partnership with CEFC comes at a time when the Australian government-owned corporation is increasing its commitment to clean energy.

Last month, the government announced a A$1 billion ($761 million; €668 million) fund to develop emerging clean energy technologies. The Clean Energy Innovation Fund will receive its capital, $100 million annually for 10 years, from CEFC’s budget.

Along with Foresight’s waste-to-energy projects in the UK, it has also deployed £78 million for the UK Waste & Renewable Energy Investment Fund and £50 million Recycling and Waste fund. Both funds are in partnership with the UK’s Green Investment Bank.