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Emerging Leaders look ahead to the asset classes of tomorrow

Hosted by DLA Piper, we convened our Emerging Leaders in Infrastructure Investment (ELII) network to explore the asset classes of tomorrow

Emerging Leaders from across GIIA membership gathered for an evening of insight and networking as we joined our hosts, DLA Piper, to explore four asset classes poised to transform the landscape of infrastructure investment.  

Senior Associates from DLA Piper, Owen Knight, Louis Head and Hayley Mason gave fascinating insights into four key asset classes that are providing increasing opportunities for investment, exploring growth potential across space infrastructure and satellites, new nuclear and SMRs, water DPC, and the decarbonisation of heat.   

Attendees networking over drinks at DLA Piper's office


Key takeaways from the panel include: 

  • Space is providing an abundance of opportunity, with McKinsey estimating that the global space economy will be worth $1.8 trillion by 2035 – thousands of satellites are expected to be launched between now and 2030 as lower barriers to entry emerge. 
  • Risk profiling remains the biggest issue for space projects, and insurance will be a key enabler to private finance – cross-sector support is vital for potentially significant opportunities to invest in assets to be launched, but also in associated ground-based infrastructure (e.g. spaceports, and ground stations) and in-orbit infrastructure (e.g. to enable on-orbit manufacturing and assembly).  
  • A quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions are produced through the heating of buildings, so it’s clear that decarbonising heat will be crucial if we’re to meet 2050 Net Zero targets – but progress has been slow when compared to sectors like electricity.  
  • Consumers will need to be ready for radical transformations on the horizon in how we approach heating, with measures like the Energy Act (2023) providing powers for government to implement heat network zoning in England through regulations – but increased customer protections will prove beneficial for end users. 
  • Waste heat produced during industrial processes or from data centres is now proving to be a valuable commodity for innovative solutions making use of heat that would otherwise be lost in the atmosphere. 
  • Nuclear energy is well suited to provide the base load power that more intermittent sources of renewable energy production can’t achieve, but projects prove notoriously challenging to deliver, with the UK’s ambitious roadmap to increase nuclear generation fourfold by 2050.  
  • Bodies like GB Nuclear will need to work efficiently to ensure that the UK meets targets to have SMRs online and generating power by mid-2030 – with Labour’s 2024 Election manifesto specifically outlining nuclear as a key tool in driving the energy transition. 
  • The Direct Procurement for Customers model could drive much-needed improvement to the UK’s outdated and overburdened water infrastructure, improving the competitive process for complex projects - £14 billion of projects are earmarked for use of the model over the next decade. 

Thank you to our event host and sponsor DLA Piper, and our expert speakers for their insights. 

If you’d like to get involved in our Emerging Leaders in Infrastructure Investment group, please get in touch with Sophia Taylor: and follow our Emerging Leaders page on LinkedIn.