THE Clean Energy Finance Corporation has announced its first pure play investment in the industrial property sector, a $50m equity investment in one of Australia’s largest industrial and logistics funds, Charter Hall Prime Industrial Fund.

The $5.5bn CPIF has 75 assets across Australia, including warehouses, industrial estates and distribution centres.

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said, “Working with an industry leader like Charter Hall gives us the opportunity to use our capital to help transform the industrial property sector”.

“We can drive sustainability measures across an extensive portfolio of assets, as well as positively influence the sustainability profile of a diverse range of large tenants,” Mr Learmonth said.

“With long-term industrial tenants looking for more sustainable property to help meet their ESG targets, the industrial property sector provides important opportunities to further decarbonize the economy.”

Australia has about 35m square metres of industrial roof space – a largely untapped resource for energy efficiency improvements, solar PV and batteries that offers significant potential to provide clean energy as well as grid services.

“This investment will also lead to the construction of new assets that make use of the latest in sustainable design and materials, potentially driving uptake of materials… such as green steel, aluminium and cement, and delivering long term benefits to Australia’s emissions profile,” Mr Learmonth said.

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The CPIF will consider several initiatives that go beyond the scope of the emissions target by looking to influence tenant and supply-chain emissions including:

− looking at optimised solutions in the use of solar PV panels across the 2m-square-metres of roof space in its portfolio, as well its potential to be converted into a renewable energy resource to supply clean energy and grid services.

− opportunities to deliver carbon neutral developments whilst also targeting a 5 Star Green Star Design and As Built rating for the $900m strong CPIF development pipeline of projects near major infrastructure roads, rail and ports.

− working with tenants to improve their sustainability outcomes and reduce energy consumption.

− the role of embedded networks, batteries, as well as waste diversion strategies.

Charter Hall chief investment officer Sean McMahon said the CEFC investment offered the CPIF an unprecedented opportunity to implement innovative sustainability solutions across its industrial and logistics assets.

“We are delighted to welcome the CEFC as an investor in our flagship industrial fund,” Mr McMahon said.

“The CEFC investment is an endorsement of our plans to improve the operational performance of our buildings and deliver to our tenant customers a consistent high performing product.”

The CPIF will work with the CEFC to identify demonstration projects to showcase exemplar energy efficiency solutions, clean energy enabling activities as well as carbon neutral developments.

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