The fund, which will be managed by Foresight, is cornerstoned with up to £50 million (US$75.2 million) from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) in Australia and will support investment in a broad range of projects producing clean energy from agricultural, council, forestry and mining waste.
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.
ABF will target equity investments in projects ranging from £1 million to £50 million, with anticipated carbon abatement of more than 350,000 tonnes per year when fully deployed.
Foresight currently manages 17 waste projects in the UK with over 1 million tonnes of waste processing capacity per annum and with a total capital value of more than £800 million.
The launch follows a successful 12 months for Foresight in the UK. Having fully deployed the £78 million GIB-cornerstoned UK Waste & Renewable Energy Investment fund (UKWREI), Foresight has launched a £50 million fund supported by the GIB, Recycling and Waste LP (RAW) which targets smaller scale projects of up to £30 million. In addition, Foresight has recently established the Bioenergy Infrastructure Group (BIG), an Independent Power Producer focused on bioenergy assets in the UK, owned and funded by the two sponsors, Foresight and Aurium, and the investors, Infracapital and Helios. To date Foresight has mobilised in excess of £800 million into 17 waste to energy or recycling projects in the UK, and this expertise has been influencial in Foresight securing the ABF mandate from the CEFC.
Nigel Aitchison, Partner, Foresight Group, commented:
"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."
"For Foresight, the Australia Bioenergy Fund presents the perfect opportunity to develop a presence in the Australian market. We very much look forward to working in partnership with CEFC to develop these projects over the coming years and to unlocking the potential of renewable energy in the Australian landscape."
Oliver Yates, CEO, CEFC commented:
"The Australian Bioenergy Fund will help unlock important opportunities across the economy to harness waste and turn it into energy."
"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."