The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, set in 2015, have guided our investment approach and as a result we have established specific sustainable infrastructure strategies, guaranteed to have a maximum positive contribution.
The key criteria considered to measure a project’s Sustainable Development Contribution include:
Affordable and clean energy:
Does the project promote the development of clean and sustainable energy?
Industry, innovation and infrastructure:
Does the project invest into resilient and sustainable infrastructure, such as energy, transport and water resources? Does the project increase resource and energy efficiency?
Does the project contribute positively to reductions in greenhouse gases? Does the project contribute to national and international climate change targets? What is the direct contribution to carbon emissions from the target’s activities? Is the project net positive or negative?
Case Study: Bannerton Solar Farm – helping build a sustainable Melbourne
The largest solar project in our global portfolio is Bannerton, a 110 MW solar farm located in Victoria, Australia, which was acquired by Foresight Solar Fund Limited in September 2017.
When completing the investment in Bannerton we created a plan to ensure that the site would be fully compliant with our Sustainability Evaluation Criteria and complement our ESG principles.
Pollination and Biodiversity
For example, Bannerton is located on an almond farm and in order to help with the pollination of the trees, we arranged for the release of some 4 billion bees into the orchard.
Sourcing local skills and talent has a big part to play in our development contribution, and around 300 local jobs were created during construction of the project. Role-specific training was provided to ensure the workers complied with industry standard and could upskill themselves in the process. To govern the project, we appointed a Board with the relevant skills and experience so that we could ensure that we’d be able to contribute as much as possible to development whilst still delivering an attractive return for our investors.
It was important to us that we support the local community and play a part in educating future generations on renewable energy generation and the role it has to play in the sustainability landscape. As a result, we have held multiple site visits with local schools and A$20k has been awarded to local causes, clubs and associations including a local indigenous group, netball clubs and rugby clubs.
Clean Energy Stats
The “renewable credentials” of Bannerton speak for themselves, with the 320,000-solar panel plant expected to:
- Divert c. 127,976 tonnes of CO2 once fully operational
- Generate enough power to supply c.30,000 homes with solar energy
- Divert 18,753 tonnes of oil equivalent each year
Clean energy for the iconic Melbourne tram network
In another big coup for Bannerton, the Victoria government is using Bannerton to deliver green power to 100% of the inner-city Melbourne tram network. This initiative supports the State’s target of 40% renewable energy by 2025 and helping towards Australia’s larger decarbonisation goal of a c.28% reduction in 2005 emission levels by 2030, the project has in addition contracted a significant proportion of output into separate agreements with Alinta Energy and the Victoria government.