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Foresight launches £100 million bioenergy fund in Australia

A new bioenergy fund has been launched in Australia to invest in projects producing clean energy from agricultural, council, forestry and mining waste. 03 Dec 2015

Managed by the Foresight Group, the Australia Bioenergy Fund will target equity investments in projects ranging from £1 million to £50 million. It is expected to eliminate more than 350,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year when fully deployed, the Foresight Group said.

The fund will invest in a range of technologies including energy from agricultural waste, anaerobic digestion, sustainably sourced biomass-to-energy projects, landfill gas capture and wood pelletisation – where forestry plantation waste is converted into pellets that can be burned as fuel and production of biofuels for export, the group said.

Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has committed £50 million to the fund as a cornerstone investor, Foresight said.

The launch follows a successful 12 months for Foresight in the UK, the group said. It currently manages 17 waste projects in the UK, with more than 1 million tonnes of waste processing capacity per annum and with a total capital value of more than £800 million. 

The group has deployed a £78 million UK Waste & Renewable Energy Investment fund, backed by the Green Investment Bank (GIB), and launched a £50 million fund called Recycling and Waste LP which is also supported by the GIB and targets smaller scale projects of up to £30 million.

Foresight has also established the Bioenergy Infrastructure Group, an independent power producer focused on bioenergy assets in the UK, owned and funded by two sponsors, Foresight and Aurium, and investors Infracapital and Helios, it said.

Nigel Aitchison, a partner in Foresight Group said: "Having seen the success of similar funds mandated to invest in the waste sector in the UK, Foresight is well positioned to implement a similar strategy in Australia where we see an increasing appetite for investment in renewable energy and waste management market."

Sydney-based projects expert Adam Perl of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind said: "After a period of some uncertainty for the CEFC and renewables generally in Australia, it is great to see this level of interest in the sector."

Established in 1984, the Foresight Group is an independent infrastructure and private equity investment manager with more than £1.6 billion of assets under management, it said.