CEFC, Octopus Australia and Hostplus power green makeover with Gippsland clean energy park
15 March 2022
A joint venture between the CEFC and Octopus Australia to develop renewable energy assets has attracted the might of leading superannuation fund Hostplus to deliver a large-scale clean energy park in Gippsland that will accelerate the region’s transition to a clean, green future.
In a major boost for energy supply in the region, the Gippsland Renewable Energy Park (GREP) will deliver clean energy to the National Electricity Market, to help replace the fossil fuel supply that will be lost when the Yallourn coal fired power station closes.
Hostplus will invest via an Octopus Australia-managed platform to help develop the GREP – a pioneering investment by a super fund in an early-stage renewable energy project. The investment will sit alongside CEFC finance of up to $8.5 million on behalf of the Australian Government.
Octopus Australia will also invest into the project, in collaboration with the investments made by the CEFC and Hostplus.
The GREP development will be a multi-staged project and will investigate the deployment of various technologies at utility scale, including solar, wind, battery storage and the potential of green hydrogen.
The 3000-hectare GREP site is in the heart of the proposed Gippsland Renewable Energy Zone (GREZ). Octopus Australia estimates that construction and development of the GREP will generate several hundred jobs in a region that has been hit by bushfires and the decline of local industries including timber and coal-based generation.
CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said: “Gippsland has been a powerhouse for the National Electricity Market for many years. This development will contribute to the region’s transition to a clean energy future, while continuing to supply the power that helps keep Australia’s lights on.
“With the planned construction of both solar and storage at the site, the GREP also offers an exciting opportunity for the Gippsland community to benefit from the clean energy economy.
“We are delighted that Hostplus has come on board, building its future green investment pipeline on behalf of its diverse 1.4 million members, and delivering on the CEFC commitment to attract private sector capital to renewable energy developments.”
The GREP adds to an impressive portfolio for the CEFC and Octopus Australia joint venture, following on from the recent acquisition of the Perry Bridge and Fulham solar farm development projects, also in the Gippsland region. The solar farms, along with the GREP project, are a critical part of the new energy generation that will be required to replace the Yallourn power station, which is due to close in 2028.
Octopus Australia entered the Australian market over four years ago and is a subsidiary of the Octopus Group. It currently manages more than $1 billion in assets under construction and operations on behalf of its investors. Founded in 2000, the Octopus Group is one of the world’s largest investors in clean energy, with more than $6 billion deployed across more than 300 projects.
Octopus Australia Managing Director Sam Reynolds said: “We are very excited to be able to work with such well respected partners in bringing the GREP project to life. It is a great opportunity to combine the resources and capital of each group into a collaboration that can build GREP in a way that benefits not only Australia’s clean energy future but equally as importantly, the local Gippsland community.”
Hostplus CEO David Elia said: “Today is an especially historic day for the fund as we announced this morning our commitment to Net Zero by 2050. We’re privileged to take part in this pioneering venture, which has the potential to aid Australia’s transition to a low-carbon economy and generate valuable jobs in Gippsland, all while delivering the potential for strong investment outcomes to our members.”
The CEFC investment supports the Australian Government Technology Investment Roadmap energy storage targets.
About Octopus Australia
Octopus Investments Australia is a subsidiary of the Octopus Group. Founded in 2000, it is one of the world’s largest investors in clean energy with over $6 billion deployed across more than 300 projects. Octopus entered Australia in 2018 and is currently managing over $1billion of renewable assets domestically. Most notably, this includes being the owner of the 333MWdc Darlington Point Solar Farm, currently the largest solar farm generating into the National Electricity Market and also the 180MW Dulacca Wind Farm in QLD, which is currently under construction.
Hostplus is one of the largest industry super funds in Australia with 1.4 million members, more than 250,000 employers and $76 billion in funds under management and is excited to support the development of renewable energy in Australia.
Media release, 2022