April News, Insights & Events
The latest from GIIA and the Infrastructure Industry
Last chance to register: GIIA Parliamentary Reception | 3 May
Join us this Wednesday 3 May to hear from Business and Trade Minister Lord Johnson and John Penrose MP.
Lords back Ofgem Net Zero amendment
The UK Upper House is supporting our recommendation regarding a change to the energy regulator's remit.
US Infrastructure Investor Forum
GIIA joined federal and state officials to discuss implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, permitting and P3s.
GIIA meets with Indian High Commission
We discussed member perspectives on, and opportunities within, the region with the Economy and Trade First Secretary.
Innovation Zero Panel
We'll be hosting a session on sustainable investment at this year's free Innovation Zero summit along with members and the UK Infrastructure bank.
National Infrastructure Commission latest
The National Infrastructure Commission has made welcome recommendations regarding Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects.
US Infrastructure Forum Special
In the latest episode of Talking Global Infrastructure, we look at what's next for US infrastructure investment with contributors to this month's US Infrastructure Investment Forum.
GIIA's Head of Communications Matt Dickinson discusses the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, permitting reform and role of private investors in project delivery with Professor Qingbin Cui of the Build America Center, Michael Bennon of Stanford University and GIIA's David Quam.
From the CEO
One of the biggest challenges GIIA has faced since its launch in 2016 is how to put the G into GIIA. In other words, how do we extend our reach in terms of membership, stakeholder network and influence into markets outside of our home base in London?
I was struck this month by how far we've come. During April, we've opened a dialogue with the Indian High Commission to share investor member perspectives on the Indian market (thanks to all who inputted), submitted evidence to the review of the Canada Infrastructure Bank, co-sponsored an investor summit in California, engaged with the Brazilian Embassy on renewable investment, discussed the forward agenda for our Australia Working Group with members based in Sydney and Melbourne, shared our concerns around Foreign Subsidies Regulations with DG COMP in Brussels and hosted a meeting of our Global Tax Working Group.
One worldwide topic of emerging concern is the polarising of views around ESG. The introduction of ‘anti-ESG’ legislation in some US States is an unwelcome development and based, in my view, on a misunderstanding of the role ESG considerations play in helping infrastructure investors manage and mitigate risk to enhance long term value. It is also a move that contradicts the international consensus in Europe and other markets raising additional complexities for global investors to manage.
Meanwhile, back in London work continues apace. This month we conducted a fireside chat with the CEO of the UK Infrastructure Bank, delivered a speech to The Regulators Forum Chairs’ Summit, hosted a roundtable with the Department of Business and Trade and made preparations for our annual parliamentary reception on the terrace at the House of Commons this coming Wednesday 3 May. We are very nearly at capacity, so please register today if you wish to attend.
Finally, I’d like to welcome our latest recruit, Sophia Taylor. Sophia joined us this month as our Membership Officer, a brand new post we have created to provide an enhanced focus on member engagement now that we are approaching the magic milestone of 100 members. Sophia will be in contact with individual member contacts over the coming weeks and months to make sure we understand what you want from your membership and what we can do to provide additional value.
Annual General Meeting
A reminder that our AGM takes place next week. We encourage members to send one representative to join us.
Date: 4 May | Location: Online
New Nuclear Summit 2023
GIIA members are entitled to a 20% discount on tickets for this year's summit. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for full details.
Date: 18 May | Location: London
GIIA Advocacy Spotlights
David Quam, US Representative
As we approach 18 months since implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, GIIA helped bring together industry and political leaders at last week’s US Infrastructure Investor Forum at Stanford. Key topics for discussion included the importance of political and community support for investments, the benefits of pre-development agreements and the need to accelerate permitting timelines to keep projects politically viable. We are now working with the National Governors Association (NGA) on a list of recommendations to be shared with state infrastructure directors off the back of the conference.
Other April highlights included attendance at the NGA’s Broadband Workshop in Las Vegas. The event brought together representatives from more than 40 states and six federal agencies. Activity in the sector is stepping up, with the federal government set to release $45bn of allocations from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment, Middle Mile, and Digital Equity Act by the end of June.
Many thanks to all those who contributed to this month’s US working group, where we received an insightful briefing from Keith Brainard of the National Association of State Retirement Administrators on state efforts to regulate Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing. Several states have enacted legislation requiring state pension funds to consider only financial or pecuniary factors when making investments decisions, whilst others require funds to consider climate risks to achieve a sustainable portfolio.
Keith was kind enough to share a briefing paper after the discussion, please email email@example.com if you would like a copy.
We have also in recent weeks seen more guidance on sourcing requirements for electric vehicles to qualify for the $7,500 tax credit set out in the Inflation Reduction Act. Only 14 of the 91 models of electric cars and trucks being sold in the US qualify for the credit, with all European or Asian models losing the credits they had been eligible for prior to the guidance. At the same time, newly proposed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandate rapidly decreasing harmful emissions over the next five years.
The developments are set to further spur the need for investment in EV charging infrastructure over the coming months, a key discussion point in the latest Talking Global Infrastructure podcast episode, which focuses on the US.
Chloe Gibbs, Policy & Public Affairs Manager
The past month has served to underscore several infrastructure investment challenges facing the UK. The National Infrastructure Commission states in its latest Progress Review that, despite positive progress in areas including broadband rollout and elevating renewable electricity generation, it believes the government is being too slow in implementing its recommendations. In each of the three tests applicable to regulation as a cross-cutting area (long-term, planning and change), the Commission concluded that sufficient progress has not been made.
Elsewhere, the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum’s Conference on the future of water management flagged the risk of significant supply shortfalls over the coming decades unless a genuinely holistic, collaborative approach to managing drought risks is taken.
It’s against that backdrop that we have been developing policy recommendations designed to stimulate significant new investment in UK infrastructure. Thanks to all those who have inputted so far. We’re also looking forward to our imminent roundtable with the Department for Business and Trade to feed into the government’s review of economic regulation.
Another development over recent weeks from the NIC has been publication of its Delivering net zero, climate resilience and growth report, setting out welcome proposals around the consenting process for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs).
Harvey Chandler, Senior Policy & Public Affairs Manager
This month the EU agreed key aspects of its Fitfor55 package, aimed at reducing GHG emissions by at least 55% by 2030. This includes agreeing to reform of the Emissions Trading System, introduction of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism and the creation of a Social Climate Fund.
In late March, we also saw more ambitious sector-specific targets come forward for transport, industry and buildings through the renewable energy directive, aimed at speeding up the integration of renewables in sectors where incorporation has been slower.
Separately, GIIA is engaging with EU parties on the implementation of the Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR), which introduces new obligations on investors for M&A and public procurement transactions over a certain threshold. The next step is for the FSR to start applying on 12 July 2023, with the Commission empowered to start investigations into transactions deemed to be in-scope. Notification obligations will apply from 12 October 2023. Read more about the FSR here.
The European Commission has also opened consultations on its Net Zero Industry Act, European Critical Raw Materials Act and Electricity Market Design proposals, which GIIA is contributing to. There is also a consultation open on the InvestEU programme designed to support investment in sustainable infrastructure.
Looking forward to next month, we expect to hold meetings with officials across DG MOVE, DG ENER and DG COMP, as well as the EIB on a range of issues. If you have any questions or areas you would like us to cover during these meetings, or would like to join us, please do get in touch.
Harvey Chandler, Senior Policy & Public Affairs Manager
The end of March saw the election of the Labor Party in New South Wales, resulting in Labor governing all states apart from Tasmania as well as the national government.
The Fresh Start Plan set out by Labor ahead of its NSW election victory includes plans to boost investments in infrastructure and energy, with a shift away from privatisation in favour of government-backed projects, departing from the approach taken by the former Coalition government.
We expect more details on the NSW government’s plans when they set out their budget, which has been delayed until September, however the national government has already allocated A$23 billion towards “substantial investment” in NSW’s infrastructure, underlining the expected shift in how infrastructure in the state is funded.
Over the past month, we have also seen the implementation of the next steps of reforming Infrastructure Australia (IA), the independent body that provides advice on infrastructure projects to the government and industry. The reforms will result in a stronger IA with a mandate to oversee projects from idea to completion. As part of this the body will produce a more targeted infrastructure priority list, as well as a national planning and assessment framework to support consistency in infrastructure assessments. We are currently tracking the legislation that supports IA’s expanded role and will be engaging IA as it progresses.
There are also several consultations ongoing at a national and state level, including a national consultation on the fuel efficiency standard, a Victoria consultation on water prices and a Queensland consultation on planned improvements to the planning framework.
For more details about our policy and public affairs activity in Australia, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Growing Membership
We're delighted to welcome Columbia Threadneedle as the newest member of the GIIA community this month. Click to learn more about membership.
Infrastructure Around the Globe
How to unlock a £350 billion pension bonanza
The Sunday Times' Jim Armitage looks at what UK local authority funds can learn from Canada.
Repowered wind farms show huge potential
Wind Europe looks at the promise held by the next generation of renewable turbines.
Infrastructure Investors use a simple logic
Macquarie's Leigh Harrison outlines the case for long-term stewardship in the FT.