Collector Wind Farm demonstrates tech and financial innovation
Vestas blades and drones capitalise on wind resource
The Collector Wind Farm, with the potential to power some 80,000 homes, is one of three assets included in a new clean energy financing framework for RATCH-Australia Corporation.
This new wind farm is an important step in Australia’s journey to decarbonisation and we are very proud to be able to produce clean, cheap energy for the market. We are very pleased to have supported the local region with contracts and jobs, employing more than 150 people throughout construction. It is now managed by up to 10 full time staff, providing clean energy jobs in the region.Polagorn KheosiplardCEO, RATCH-Australia
The CEFC became the sole debt financier to the project in 2019, with our $174.6 million senior debt facility repaid in 2022, at which time the project became one of three assets in a RATCH-Australia renewable energy platform, alongside Collinsville Solar Farm and the Mount Emerald Wind Farm.
The renewable energy platform has secured debt finance from a syndicate of major Australian and international lenders. including Bank of China, DBS, Deutsche Bank, E.Sun, ING, MUFG, SMBC, Société Générale and the CEFC.
The CEFC commitment through the new financing syndicate is ~$50 million.
Australia requires a substantial uplift in renewable energy generation and storage to support its transition to a low emissions economy. AEMO has forecast that annual demand for grid electricity will double by 2050 and that investment in large-scale renewables will need to increase ninefold to help meet that requirement.
While the Australian wind sector is considered mature, further investment faces emerging barriers including supply chain constraints, increased interest rates and escalating raw materials and transportation costs.
Early commitment to support development
The CEFC commitment to the Collector Wind Farm in May 2019 was made before RATCH-Australia secured offtake agreements for ~80 per cent of the generator’s output. This early commitment demonstrated how finance for a fully merchant project could unlock a wind sector opportunity and build confidence in a project’s longer-term commercial potential.
Today, a CEFC commitment to the project sits alongside a syndicate of major international lenders, supporting the first green financing framework debt financing for RATCH-Australia.
The Collector Wind Farm is located along the Cullerin Ridge, south-west of Goulburn in the Southern Tablelands, which has some of the windiest conditions in NSW.
With 54 wind turbines, the project is expected to generate 528 GWh of energy annually, which is enough to meet the needs of some 80,000 average homes. It has the potential to abate some 9.3 million tCO2-e over its lifetime.
Vestas uses innovative drone and 3D imaging technology to deliver routine blade maintenance and data collection for the wind farm.
The wind farm opened in November 2022, having reached full generation in February 2021 as one of the first in Australia to use the 4.2 MW V117 Vestas turbines.
Strengthening net zero ambitions
Another key player in the Collector Wind Farm is the customers that have committed to offtake agreements including ALDI Supermarkets and Iberdrola.
As a result of its Power Purchase Agreement with the Collector Wind Farm, ALDI became the first supermarket in Australia to have all stores, warehouses and offices powered using only renewable electricity sources, reducing CO2 emissions by 85 per cent.
Iberdrola Australia has worked with RATCH across a number of projects. Collector represents another case of project developers working closely with Iberdrola Australia to provide Australian customers with competitively prices green electricity. This collaborative approach helps accelerate the renewable transition while providing customers with firm product offerings for 100 per cent green energy.Ross Rolfe AOExecutive Chairman, Iberdrola Australia