Ausgrid and Melbourne Airport commit to emissions reduction targets

Calla Wahlquist
Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ausgrid and Melbourne Airport have committed to emissions reductions targets as part of a push by Australia’s largest infrastructure fund to reduce its carbon footprint.

IFM Investors announced on Monday that Melbourne, Brisbane, and NT airports, as well as NSW Ports, the Port of Brisbane, Southern Cross Station, and electricity network Ausgrid, would commit to a carbon abatement plan in an effort to align the fund’s critical infrastructure assets with Australia’s Paris targets.

It follows a $150m investment, 12 months ago, from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to encourage emissions reduction projects in Australia’s biggest infrastructure projects.

Related: Clean energy financier invests $150m in infrastructure fund to lower emissions

The aim was to have IFM use its position on the board of critical infrastructure companies to introduce firm emissions reduction targets and reporting requirements within the year.

Ausgrid carbon reduction initiative.

In a statement, IFM said the commitments would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 200,000 tonnes per year by 2030, the equivalent of removing 70,000 cars from the road.

“IFM Investors is pleased to be taking an active role as a major infrastructure investor to work with the CEFC and our assets’ management teams to set carbon abatement targets and commit to annual progress reporting,” IFM head of Australian infrastructure, Michael Hanna, said.

“This exciting initiative represents a genuine commitment, and start, to aligning our assets to the Paris Agreement, and it makes perfect business sense by reducing costs, mitigating future business risks and contributing to outcomes that our customers value.”

NT Airports have committed to producing zero net emissions by 2030 through the construction of onsite solar electricity generation and energy efficiency projects, while Melbourne and Brisbane airports have committed to reducing their emissions by 16% and 25% respectively by 2024, also through solar and building efficiency upgrades.

Australian infrastructure carbon reduction initiative.

NSW ports has committed to reducing its emissions by 20% by 2024, the Port of Brisbane has said it will reduce emissions by 38% by 2030, and Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station has committed to a 47% reduction by 2030 by installing energy efficient lighting, and other measures.

Ausgrid has said it will reduce emissions by 8% by 2024 and 17% by 2030 through investment in renewable energy, primarily solar, as well as building efficiency upgrades and transitioning to a low energy vehicle fleet.

The infrastructure assets are all part-owned by IMF Investors’s $12bn infrastructure fund.

IMF is owned by 27 of Australia’s industry super funds and invests on behalf of 6 million Australians and roughly 15 million pension fund members globally.

CEFC chief executive Ian Learmonth said a reduction in emissions from these legacy infrastructure assets could “make a material impact on cutting Australia’s carbon footprint.”

“This comprehensive program of activity sets an important example for other major infrastructure owners and managers in Australia.” he said. “Cutting carbon emissions can deliver a long-term dividend to the environment and in most cases an improved financial performance.”