Rest, one of Australia’s largest profit-to member superannuation funds, believes green data centres and sustainable digitisation represent a valuable long-term opportunity for its members. This growth area is forming a key part of a new $1 billion infrastructure investment that will support the energy transition.
In the latest step in its whole-of-fund decarbonisation journey, Rest is committing to invest AUD $1 billion with renewable and clean energy infrastructure manager Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners.
The commitment looks to provide exposure to a range of assets, such as solar and battery projects and green data storage centres, including Quinbrook’s Supernode green data campus in Brisbane – believed to be the largest in the southern hemisphere.
Rest’s Chief Investment Officer Andrew Lill said sustainable digitisation is key to allowing the rapid transformation and connectivity of the global economy to continue in an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly manner.
"In a world increasingly reliant on data, and through the global growth in cloud-based technologies and AI, data centres have become big business and demand for this critical infrastructure is expected to accelerate,” said Mr Lill.
"Repositories for the storage, management and dissemination of data require significant investments and huge amounts of energy.
"Maximising their energy efficiency and minimising their environmental impact through our commitment to Quinbrook is just one way we believe we can contribute to strong long-term financial benefits for Rest members, while supporting our objective to achieve a net zero carbon footprint for the fund by 2050."
The investment in Quinbrook aims to provide strong long-term financial returns through greater exposure to next-generation infrastructure in Australia and beyond, Mr Lill said.
"Climate change mitigation, the energy transition and the road to net zero are creating some great investment opportunities for our members. We represent more than a million members aged 30 or younger, who will retire after the year 2050,” said Mr Lill.
"This is another example of how we use our knowledge and experience as a direct investor in renewable energy infrastructure to identify opportunities that provide greater scale to the portfolio, supporting our continued commitment to delivering strong long-term returns to members.
"Quinbrook is an established and experienced renewables specialist that is looking to help power the net zero transition through targeting large-scale sustainable investments.
"This investment is expected to help our members grow their super while contributing to a more sustainable future.
"Combined with our existing Collgar Renewables and Octopus investments, this commitment builds on Rest’s track record in supporting the development of renewable energy infrastructure across Australia."
Quinbrook has raised and now manages multiple value-add funds across diverse energy transition thematics for many of the world’s leading institutions.
Quinbrook is led and managed by a senior team of power industry professionals who have collectively invested more than US$8.2 billion in energy infrastructure assets since the early 1990s, representing more than 19.5GW of power supply capacity. Quinbrook’s investment focus includes:
- Solar energy plus storage: the creation, storage and distribution at scale of solar energy, including the construction of the largest solar and storage project in US history.
- Green data centres: maximising the energy efficiency and minimising the environmental impact of large-scale data repositories.
- Renewables for energy intensive industries: supporting the rapid decarbonisation of energy intensive industrials.
- Distributed energy solutions: investing in a diverse portfolio, including grid support infrastructure to enable the renewables build-out.
- Opportunistic acquisitions from the disruptive impacts of the energy transition.