Clean energy opportunities in Australia’s infrastructure sector

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has identified huge potential for improving sustainability by investing in the Australian infrastructure sector’s clean energy opportunities according to a recently released impacts report from The Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA).

Australian infrastructure is an important focus for the CEFC, particularly considering that the sector accounts for almost half of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The CEFC is targeting comprehensive and sustained improvements to the carbon footprint of infrastructure assets, committing over $300 million to two major infrastructure programs over the past year to demonstrate the potential for emission reduction.

In ISCA’s Impact Report, the CEFC estimated that a mere five per cent improvement across Australia’s largest portfolio of high-quality infrastructure assets would abate up to 69,000t of CO2-e each year, which is approximately equivalent to removing 14,775 cars from the road over the same period.

The Impacts Report, which was published for the first time this year, also outlines the collective effort made by Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) rated projects and highlights trends in sustainability, as well as featuring case studies, key learnings and thought leadership pieces.

Over the past 12 months, ISCA certified 12 projects with a capital of $11.09 billion. According to the report, IS rated assets have a created a cumulative uplift in 1.56 billion customer experiences, and also reported a collective avoidance of more than 18.7 million tonnes carbon emissions, and enhancement 89ha of natural habitat.

Since the sustainability framework for infrastructure was developed in 2012, the IS rating scheme has engaged more than $97 billion worth of infrastructure spend across 86 projects in Australia and New Zealand.

ISCA reported that ISCA engaged infrastructure projects have avoided:

  • 18.7 million tonnes of CO2  -e equivalent of powering the households of Brisbane for a year
  • Material use by 74 per cent which has equivalent environmental benefit of diverting all household waste of Dunedin for two years
  • 67 Olympic swimming pools in water

Features include:

  • Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) on its investments in infrastructure
  • Cardno’s innovative approach to water resilience with Wellington Water
  • Arup addressing sustainability from the start; case study
  • Hyperloop’s vision for a 50 minute clean energy train from Melbourne to Sydney
  • Supply Chain Sustainability School’s update on the Modern Slavery Act
  • Queensland Department of Environment and Science; collaborating for the best outcomes
  • Auckland Council’s approach to building a sustainable park in Scott Park
  • Lendlease case study of Caulfield to Dandenong LXRA project
  • McConnell Dowell’s approach to driving innovation
  • Virgin Australia taking fuel to new heights
  • Liberty Steel delivering on its sustainability promise
  • John Holland and Mainroads WA’s case study of the award winning Northlink project

ISCA enables sustainability in infrastructure through a third-party rating program, training and knowledge sharing and creating a community of practice around sustainable infrastructure.

To date, more than $97 billion in infrastructure projects is engaged in the IS rating scheme across Australia and New Zealand.

Read the full report here here.

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