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CEFC marks renewables milestone topping $700 million in commitments to regional and rural wind projects

29 May 2018

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has reached a new milestone in its renewable energy portfolio, announcing its 10th investment in a large-scale wind project.

The latest investment, in New South Wales, will see the CEFC’s overall commitment to wind top $700 million since it began investing in 2013. CEFC wind commitments have catalysed an additional $3.1 billion in private sector capital, driving significant investment to accelerate the development of more than 1.65 GW of additional renewable energy capacity.

This includes the CEFC’s latest $38 million commitment to the 135 MW Crudine Ridge Wind Farm near Mudgee in NSW. The project will provide enough electricity to power around 55,000 homes each year. It is expected to deliver more than eight million tonnes of carbon emissions abatement over its lifetime.

CEFC Wind Investment lead Andrew Gardner said: “CEFC finance has helped deliver almost 30 per cent of new wind capacity in Australia since 2013, contributing to a robust ecosystem of local and international project developers, contractors, advisors and financial institutions.

“We are proud to have worked alongside project developers and other financiers to deliver significant growth in this important clean energy source, which is critical to reducing emissions from our energy-intensive electricity sector.

“Large-scale wind projects such as the Crudine Ridge Wind Farm continue to deliver new sources of revenue and jobs to regional and rural communities, enabling them to tap into the benefits of abundant and low cost clean energy resources.”

The $250 million Crudine Ridge Wind Farm is being developed by CWP Renewables and Partners Group, with the CEFC participating in a $113 million senior debt facility alongside Westpac and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. The wind farm has a partial energy offtake agreement with Meridian Energy Australia, owners of retailer Powershop.

The project will contribute more than $168,000 per year to Community Enhancement Funds established with the Mid-Western and Bathurst Regional Councils, as well as support upgrades to more than 20 kilometres of local council roads. In addition, 19 host landowners will benefit from rental income throughout the life of the project, with neighbour agreements helping distribute funds to others in the local community.

The wind farm is expected to support 75 full time equivalent jobs during construction, stimulating further investment in local businesses and services.

CWP Renewables CEO, Alex Hewitt said: “It is great to be starting our third wind farm in NSW and the second project with the CEFC.  Half of the project’s generation is being sold to green energy retailer, Meridian Energy and the remainder is being purchased progressively by corporate customers. We are very impressed by the level of interest from large energy users, who are seeking competitively priced clean energy that can be shaped to their specific electricity requirements.”

The 10 wind projects directly financed by the CEFC are in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.  The CEFC has also indirectly invested in wind projects via its commitments to green bonds and equity funds.

Since the CEFC began investing in 2013, a total of 44 wind projects have been built or reached financial close in Australia. Those projects amount to just over 6GW of new capacity and represent around AU$13 billion of new investment.

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth added: “Every CEFC dollar of direct investment in wind projects has been matched by more than $4.40 from the private sector, to support projects with a total value of $3.8 billion. This is a very robust level of private sector capital and confirms the critical role we are playing in accelerating the flow of finance into clean energy investment while helping to drive down development and energy costs.

“Australia has seen enormous progress in lowering the levelised cost of wind through declining up-front installation costs, increased turbine sizes and longer turbine design lives. Despite the increasing maturity of the wind sector in Australia, financing for uncontracted projects remains a challenge. We see our role as contributing to developer and investor confidence in backing these partially-contracted developments to support continued investment”.

CEFC WIND INVESTMENTS

PROJECT

MW

CEFC $M**

PROJECT VALUE $M

Crudine Ridge Wind Farm

135

38

250

Lincoln Gap Stage 1

126

150

300

Kennedy Energy Park*

43.2

67.4

123

Bodangora Wind Farm

113

80

236

Sapphire Wind Farm

270

120

588

Ararat Wind Farm

240

67

513

Woodlawn Wind Farm

48.3

26

125

Portland Wind Farm

149

70

361

Taralga Wind Farm

107

37.5

288

Macarthur Wind Farm

420

50

1,000

Total

1,651.5

705.9

3,784

*represents wind component only

** figures have been rounded

 

ABOUT CWP RENEWABLES

CWP Renewables was established in Australia in 2007, and since then has steadily developed a portfolio of projects, working closely with communities, councils and state authorities. CWP Renewables was awarded a Clean Energy Council Community Engagement Award in 2014 for its Boco Rock Wind Farm, and it is pioneering large scale community investment for the local community near the Sapphire Wind Farm. CWP also developed and built the 600MW Fântânele-Cogealac Wind Farm in Romania, which was constructed between 2009 and 2012, and which remains the largest onshore wind farm in Europe.

ABOUT PARTNERS GROUP

Partners Group is a global private markets investment management firm with over EUR 62 billion (USD 74 billion) in investment programs under management in private equity, private real estate, private infrastructure and private debt. The firm manages a broad range of customized portfolios for an international clientele of institutional investors. Partners Group is headquartered in Zug, Switzerland and has offices in Denver, Houston, New York, São Paulo, London, Guernsey, Paris, Luxembourg, Milan, Munich, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, Manila, Shanghai, Seoul, Tokyo and Sydney. The firm employs over 1,000 people and is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (symbol: PGHN) with a major ownership by its partners and employees.