1 July 2013
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is investing $50 million as part of the refinancing of Victoria's $1 billion Macarthur Wind Farm. This is the CEFC's first transaction in the wind sector.
One of Australasia's largest renewable energy groups, Meridian Energy Ltd is refinancing its 50 per cent stake through a $529 million syndicate of co-lenders including the CEFC. The wind farm's joint-venture partner is Macarthur Wind Farm Pty Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of AGL.
CEFC CEO Oliver Yates said that by providing senior secured debt financing to Meridian, the CEFC is playing a valuable commercial role in supporting the other syndicate members ANZ, NAB, ING, Shinsei, ICBC and EKF, to provide market liquidity.
"Successful refinancing deals help send a strong message to future large-scale renewable energy projects in Australia that it is possible for developers to successfully complete a development-finance-exit cycle," he said.
The 420 MW Macarthur Wind Farm, in South-Western Victoria is the largest in the southern hemisphere. It has been fully operational since January 2013 and has enough capacity to generate energy to power the equivalent of 220,000 average Victorian households a year, while reducing carbon emissions by 1.7 million tonnes a year.
Mr Mark Binns, Chief Executive, Meridian Energy, said the company was committed to developing its presence in the Australian energy market.
"Our core strategy is underpinned by renewable energy generation. We are currently constructing Mt Mercer Wind Farm south of Ballarat and are assessing a range of additional renewable energy opportunities across the National Electricity Market."
"The involvement of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation in the refinancing of the Macarthur Wind Farm will facilitate our on-going activities in Australia and we look forward to the opportunity for further collaboration," Mr Binns said.
Mr Yates said the CEFC was providing finance on the same terms as the other syndicate members, demonstrating the role the CEFC can play in operating commercially to help leverage private sector financing into renewable energy.
"This will allow the market to build understanding of our approach and ability to participate in order to assist projects to successfully reach financial closure," he said.
This transaction demonstrates a feasible exit strategy for large scale renewable energy projects; provides additional liquidity to ensure efficient market pricing; and encourages other banks to participate and thereby create additional liquidity.
(NOTE: The CEFC was fully repaid in June 2018).