Australia’s state-backed Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has committed A$100 million ($79 million) to the agricultural platform of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA), as part of its efforts to promote clean energy farming in the country.
In a statement posted on its website, the CEFC said the investment will contribute to sustainable on-farm asset management practices, with MIRA investing in farms across multiple climatic zones, production regions, and end markets.
MIRA will manage large-scale row cropping assets, such as wheat and other grains, and permanent crops including avocados, targeting improved on-farm energy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions.
“Australian agriculture is globally recognised for its innovation and the high quality of our products. Through this investment, our goal is to see it also recognised as a leader in lowering on-farm emissions, through better technology and on-farm practices,” CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said.
The investment, Learmonth added, demonstrates the very broad potential of a clean energy focus to make a positive difference right across the Australian economy.
A key feature of the CEFC investment is the establishment of a specialist Energy, Emissions and Efficiency Advisory Committee (3EAC), drawing on the skills of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), MIRA, and CEFC.
3EAC will support new on-farm standards in energy efficiency and emissions reduction. It will also develop clean energy models targeted for broader use in the farming sector, CEFC said. Both MIRA and CEFC will work with CSIRO to develop an emission-reduction benchmarking system consistent with Science-Based Targets.
“This is an important investment into research and development that will see us adopting various energy efficient technologies on the properties to make environmental savings while maximising soil health and productivity,” said MIRA Head of Agriculture Elizabeth O’Leary.
MIRA said it will continue to invest in communities in which it operates by creating employment opportunities, both on and off-farm. As the farm portfolio grows, a number of farm management teams will be built across regional Australia with deep knowledge of local production environments, it added.
MIRA is one of the world’s largest infrastructure asset manager, with growing portfolios in real estate, agriculture, and energy. It manages approximately A$154 billion ($118 billion) of assets via approximately 50 public and private funds, co-investments, partnerships and separately managed accounts.