HomeInfraESG Newsletter: Gridlocked infrastructure delivery bad for environment and economy

ESG Newsletter: Gridlocked infrastructure delivery bad for environment and economy

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ESG

The ESG newsletter at the Business Post is your source for the news that matters in environmental, social and governance, all told from an Irish perspective

Get Daniel Murray’s ESG newsletter to your inbox each Wednesday to read the ESG stories that matter to Irish business.

Ireland has a chronic infrastructure problem.

Across energy, water, housing, and transport, Ireland is struggling to keep up with demand. In Dublin, the problem is acute, and leading experts have warned that water and power infrastructure in the capital is now at breaking point.

Michael Mahon, the chief infrastructure officer with Eirgrid, and Angela Ryan, senior asset strategy manager with Uisce Éireann, spoke at the National Infrastructure Summit last week, where they highlighted how Dublin’s infrastructure was stretched beyond intended capacity.

Proposed solutions, such as the Shannon to Dublin water pipeline, or new wastewater treatment infrastructure, or the replacement of high-voltage power cables that run through Dublin city, are now becoming urgent.

The consequences of failing to deliver such infrastructure will not only have significant environmental consequences , but will have knock on effects for other infrastructure and the economy too.

As Ryan said, new homes in Dublin may eventually be refused water connections if crucial infrastructure projects such as the Shannon to Dublin water pipeline are not delivered. Mahon on the other hand highlighted how there is “no point in housing, or Metrolink, or Dart West until we can get more power to Dublin”.

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And while we would certainly have to dismiss any prospect of meeting our carbon reduction targets without the required electricity grid upgrades, the head of Amazon’s European cloud infrastructure operations has warned that Ireland will also potentially miss out on billions in investment from tech multinationals if we don’t deliver a robust an decarbonised electricity grid.

Frances Ruane, chair of the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council, also warned that Ireland’s infrastructure deficits were now impacting our global competitiveness, and that the slow delivery of the government’s National Development Plan (NDP) was “a real problem”.

She highlighted the slow deployment of innovative technological tools, an ineffective planning system, and skills gaps in the public sector and wider economy as the central reasons for the slow delivery.

Paschal Donohoe, the minister for the NDP, has brought in several reforms and injected an additional €2.25 billion into the NDP to try and prioritise and accelerate key projects within the plan.

But clearly more will need to be done to accelerate planning, expand relevant workforces, and deploy the latest in construction technology if Ireland’s infrastructure problems are to be rectified for environment and economy alike.

Thanks for reading,

Daniel Murray

Asia ESG fund flows plummet in first quarter

There were “subdued” flows in sustainable funds in Asia excluding Japan and China in the first quarter of the year, recording a 63 per cent decline from a revised $1.7bn in net new money chalked up during the previous quarter.

Sustainable open-ended and exchange traded funds in the Asia ex-Japan, ex-China region posted $622mn in net inflows in the three months to the end of March, Morningstar’s Global Sustainable Fund Flows report shows.

Despite receiving lower flows, Asian investors helped “marginally” in the recovery of the global sustainable funds universe, which pulled in nearly $900mn in total net flows. This comes after the sector suffered its first quarterly net outflows on record to a revised $88mn in the last quarter of 2023.

Total sustainable fund assets in Asia ex-Japan registered a slight 1.6 per cent increase compared with the previous quarter to $63bn, matching the figure it reached during the first quarter of last year.

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