May news, insights & events
The latest from GIIA and the Infrastructure Industry
GIIA members pledge billions to US net zero investment
Our new Pulse survey shows funds increasing investment in emerging clean tech.
Members showcase net zero progress in latest UK panel
Planning reform, grid connectivity and upskilling also raised in Innovation Zero discussion.
Infrastructure demonstrates its resilience
Acting CEO Jon Phillips speaks to Investment & Pensions Europe about investing in uncertain times.
Join our Toronto reception 11 July
Members are invited to attend a networking and drinks event at Brookfield's Toronto office.
"Investors have a pivotal role in closing the infrastructure gap"
We discuss major trends shaping the infrastructure investor landscape with Real Asset Insight.
Next UK Policy Working Group 5 June
Our working groups are member forums for shaping advocacy positions and sharing insights.
Key trends in Europe and the Americas
In the latest edition of our monthly podcast we reflect on findings from our new Q2 2023 Pulse survey. Alvarez & Marsal's Kate Netinho, Wayne Jephson, Jay Moody and Jason Clatworthy discuss shifting portfolio priorities, growing clean tech investment and current tax considerations with GIIA's Matt Dickinson.
From the CEO
This month saw a return of the famous Infrastructure Week in the US. For the uninitiated, mention of Infrastructure Week often raises a wry smile amongst GIIA’s US policy working group members as they recall previous attempts to move infrastructure up the policy agenda. The first Infrastructure Week took place in 2017 and was supposed to herald a new bipartisan approach that would finally see the US getting serious about addressing the infamously poor state of its roads, bridges, railways and airports.
The stop start nature of the debate over subsequent years resulted in a standing joke that every week is infrastructure week in the US but nothing much changes. Good things come to those who wait, however, so fast forward to this year and those who gathered in DC for the 2023 Infrastructure Week could be forgiven for giving themselves a pat on the back. Our US representative David Quam was in attendance at some high profile events – more from him in his update below.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs and Inflation Reduction Acts have transformed the outlook for infrastructure investment and delivery in the US. Our latest Pulse survey shows investor sentiment towards the country has reached its highest ever level, with the US topping the list of most attractive investment markets for members. This is not to say that there aren’t some very real challenges to overcome around delivery, not least in terms of available skills, supply chain capability and permitting, but the direction of travel is only one way.
By contrast, the UK, which once stood as the leading destination for investment in Western Europe, remains very much in the doldrums. We have seen some modest improvement in sentiment since the collapse of market confidence in 2022, but there is a long way to go. GIIA has been developing some ideas to help the UK regain the confidence of investors, and we will be discussing these with policy makers and stakeholders over coming weeks and months.
Such is the scale of investment needed to address climate impacts and increasing societal expectations – especially in utilities – that a fundamental reset of the regulatory framework is needed to incentivise mobilisation of the scale of private capital required to make government targets attainable. A better-informed public debate is needed around how future investment will be funded, as demonstrated by recent commentary around the water and wastewater sector.
The trade body Water UK has rightly made a public apology for certain failings in the performance of the sector and made a commitment to future investment, but it has been disappointing to see little sense of shared responsibility coming from others responsible for designing and administering a framework which has failed to deliver sufficient investment and instead prioritised reducing consumer bills over long-term sustainability. Little wonder our Pulse survey cites an ‘unattractive regulatory regime’ as the biggest barrier for investors when looking at the UK.
Look out for invitations to participate in Ferguson Partners' new compensation research in the days ahead. Participants will gain exclusive access to customised, real-time data and trends free of charge. Contact email@example.com for more information.
US Policy Working Group
Members are invited to join our working group to develop policy positions, share insights and receive briefings from the GIIA team..
Date: 8 June | Location: Online
GIIA all member call
Members are encouraged to join us for an update on our planned programme of activity and information on how your organisation can get more involved in our work.
Date: 13 June | Location: Online
GIIA advocacy spotlights
David Quam, US Representative
This month saw the US host Infrastructure Week with dozens of meetings and conferences focused on implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. Key topics discussed included the importance of permitting reform to speed project approvals and completion, as well as the need for skilled workers to build out broadband networks and improve the resilience and flexibility of the energy grid.
GIIA participated in an event hosted at the influential Business Roundtable which included presentations by White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu, Maryland Governor Wes Moore, and US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.
In that same week we participated in the NGA’s quarterly gathering of state infrastructure coordinators in Washington, D.C. The gathering brought together representatives from more than 36 states and several federal agencies to discuss resiliency, particularly as it applies to energy infrastructure, with an additional focus on innovative financing options and leveraging private sector expertise to drive state resilience priorities.
The US Policy Working Group met to review the findings of the Pulse survey and discuss proposed rules at the Department of Treasury and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Specifically, GIIA is crafting submissions related to proposed disclosure rules regarding both the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act and foreign ownership regulations.
At the congressional level, the ongoing debate over raising the US debt ceiling could have real consequences for US infrastructure. While the White House has signalled the adverse effects a default would have on current and future infrastructure projects, congressional Republicans and Democrats are working behind the scenes to include permitting reform for energy projects as part of any final package. The US is projected to hit its current debt ceiling at the beginning of June.
Chloe Gibbs, Policy & Public Affairs Manager
Huge thanks to all of you who attended our second UK Parliamentary Reception at the start of the month. Amidst an evening of networking, we had the opportunity to hear from Investment Minister Lord Dominic Johnson of Lainston CBE, John Penrose MP and GIIA Chair Christopher Frost.
Whilst each speaker offered a unique and valuable perspective, common themes to emerge were a strong acknowledgement of the need for the UK to keep up in the global race to attract inward infrastructure investment, as well as the importance of maintaining clear lines of communication between governments and investors.
The need for a clear pipeline of investable opportunities and reform of the UK’s planning system to unlock investment were, meanwhile, key themes to emerge from the latest UK Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum (UKREiiF). Retrofitting was also high on the agenda as a key aspect of UK efforts to make net zero a reality.
Hopefully you will have had time by now to peruse our latest Pulse survey which we conduct alongside Alvarez & Marsal. From a UK perspective, results suggest that investor confidence is beginning to return, (following a dramatic shift in the UK’s standing from the most to least attractive Western European destination in the Q4 2022 edition). That said, an unattractive regulatory regime and political instability remain the primary barriers to investment for the UK market.
As we look ahead, GIIA’s next UK Policy Working Group meeting is scheduled for Monday 5 June (2-3pm BST). For members that are not already part of our UK Policy Working Group, but are keen to join future sessions, please do reach out via email: CGibbs@giia.net.
In the coming weeks we will also be preparing responses to live consultations on the government’s Strategic Steer for the CMA and its Energy Strategy and Policy Statement. Members are encouraged to get in touch if they’d like to contribute to the drafting process.
Harvey Chandler, Senior Policy & Public Affairs Manager
The past month has seen the conclusion of several key files in the Fitfor55 package, central to the EU's plans to decarbonise transport and energy networks and related infrastructure. It also saw the Commission set out its recommendation for Member States to wind down fiscal energy support for households by the end of this year to meet EU fiscal rules.
On Fitfor55, the EU Council passed five laws aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions. This includes a revision to the emissions trading system (EU ETS) which will now include more ambitious targets and the inclusion of maritime transport emissions from 2024, as well as approved plans to phase in a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism fully. GIIA continues to engage and meet with DG MOVE and others on issues related to Fitfor55 and the taxonomy, pressing the need for member states to make clear their plans for meeting EU-level targets, including on items related to the rollout of charging and refuelling infrastructure, on-shore power supply in ports and other issues.
Separately, the European Commission published its recommendations surrounding fiscal support for citizens to combat high energy prices in 2022-23. The Commission finds the support harder to justify now, in the face of lower prices, meaning member states run the risk of not meeting EU fiscal rules from 2024 harming their ability to draw down grants and loans from the Recovery Fund. An area that appears to remain protected within the recommendations however, is the need for member states to maintain funding for infrastructure designed to support the energy transition, which is central to reducing energy dependence and limiting exposure to market shocks in the future.
GIIA has also been engaging on the issue of Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR) and the related implementing regulation in May, calling for a revision to plans which in our view place disproportionate notification requirements on investors for upcoming and historic M&A transactions. We are seeking a toned-down approach from the Commission when it publishes its response, most likely in late June, and will be hosting a webinar for members to learn about and discuss the changes in early July 2023.
Our Growing Membership
We're delighted to welcome GIRA as the newest member of the GIIA community this month. Click to learn more about membership.
Infrastructure Around the Globe
'We need the private sector' European Commission President tells G7
World leaders are doubling down on their commitment to the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment.
Shadow Chancellor outlines 'securonomics' policies
Rachel Reeves has detailed Labour plans to "use public investment to underpin and unlock further private investment."
Australia's Budget backs hydrogen to tune of A$2 billion
The national government has announced ambitious plans to scale up its renewable hydrogen capacity.