The way ahead for infrastructure


This paper explores the investment implications of decarbonization, intended to help investors navigate the new landscape, drive change with investment capital and invent with solutions to meet these complex, evolving challenges.

Key points


Navigating the world of Net Zero

Infrastructure sits at the heart of the global energy transition towards net zero. There is added urgency today, opening up a massive window of opportunity ahead, not just in adding renewables capacity, but also in decarbonizing a range of other sectors, including transport, manufacturing and agriculture.


Driving towards a decarbonized world

Infrastructure investors have the opportunity to realize their return objectives, while accelerating vital societal changes with their capital. From investing in the build out of clean energy infrastructure to partnering with energy, industrial and utility companies to transition their conventional businesses, everyone has a role to play.


Inventing solutions for the future

The immense undertaking of remaking the entire global economy requires some new perspectives and technologies. The biggest investor opportunities to invent relate to batteries, charging, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage. These technologies are likely to be vital contributors for reducing emissions, especially for hard-to-abate sectors.

Overview - Test

The world is undergoing a remarkable transformation right now, greatly accelerated by the energy transition, coupled with an urgent need for energy security. In our view, these diverse drivers of change can be summarized into the “3Ds” of infrastructure – fundamental themes related to decarbonization, digitalization and decentralization – that we see as crucial over the decades ahead. This paper explores the investment implications of decarbonization and the way ahead, intended to help investors navigate the new landscape, drive change with investment capital and invent with solutions to meet these complex, evolving challenges.

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In the transition to net zero we will need to pass through many shades of brown to shades of green

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BlackRock CEO Larry Fink 2022 Letter to Shareholders

Navigating the carbon transition

Infrastructure sits at the intersection of alternatives and sustainability. In transforming the way all of us make and use energy, move goods and people, and build and reshape the environment, we expect infrastructure to play a central role in accelerating the transition to a more-sustainable, low-carbon economy.

The transition will not happen overnight. In decarbonizing the global economy, there is a long, multi-decade journey ahead, as the global economy and individual firms progressively pass through shades of brown and shades of green towards a net zero objective. For the foreseeable future, hydrocarbon and renewable companies need to work side by side to ensure continuity of supply and affordable prices during the energy transition. Existing infrastructure will still need to be maintained or upgraded as we move along the transition. Indeed, it will take considerable time and capital to retool the carbon-intensive industries that provide these essential services.

Driving change with capital

We see a multi-decade, multi-step brown-to-green transition involving all businesses, whatever their carbon intensity today. For the energy sector, this involves not just the new builds for the renewable power sector, but also involves an inclusive transition for traditional hydrocarbon businesses, to make incremental gains to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help them become the low-carbon, new-energy  businesses of tomorrow. At the same time, there is also necessary change for many companies to make a transition for a lot of existing infrastructure assets and industrial processes. For investors, both components, full exposure to the entire decarbonization transition, are vital in a diversified infrastructure portfolio.


Finding inventive solutions

Reaching net zero by 2050 absolutely requires wider adoption of available technologies as well as the rapid development of new technologies that are not quite ready in the market yet. Looking ahead, we see the biggest opportunities for innovation potentially coming from advanced batteries, charging technologies, hydrogen electrolysers and carbon capture and storage.



For infrastructure investors, there is a massive amount of work to be done ahead to navigate towards net zero, drive change with capital and push for innovative technical and financial solutions. The investment decisions we make today will likely be critical to build a greener, cleaner future. The path to net zero is not easy and requires a diverse set of initiatives and sustained infrastructure investments.

In our view, the transition can be accomplished by focusing on different points of the net zero journey:

  1. Invest in low carbon infrastructure that directly avoids greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Repurpose existing infrastructure to cut emissions, moving from “brown” to “green”.
  3. Invest in new climate technology,  particularly for hard-to-abate sectors.


Freek Spoorenberg
Head of Product Strategy, Infrastructure Equity
Bruce Wan
Head of APAC Research, Real Assets

Key contributors

Mark Florian
Global Head of Diversified Infrastructure
David Giordano
Global Head of Climate Infrastructure
David O'Brien
Head of Investment Management Evergreen Infrastructure