The Australian Government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) started operations on 1 July and has announced financing for two major wind farms.
In a statement, the CEFC said it is investing $50 million as part of the refinancing of the A$1 billion Macarthur Wind Farm, in south-western Victoria.
The 420 megawatt (MW) wind farm is the largest in the southern hemisphere and has been fully operational since January 2013.
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 by providing senior secured debt financing to Meridian, the CEFC is playing a valuable commercial role in supporting the other syndicate members, ANZ, National Australia Bank (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 CEFC also announced it is providing A$37.5 million in senior debt finance to help build the $280 million Taralga Wind Farm near the southern NSW city of Goulburn.
Mr Yates said the project would use Australian-manufactured towers made by BlueScope steel.
‘The integrated Australian supply of inputs enabling this project – from materials through to finished goods, know-how and finance – demonstrates Australia’s capability across the whole value chain for the clean energy sector’, he said in a statement.
Danish company Vestas will supply 51 wind turbines for the Taralga project and Energy Australia has a 10-year power purchase agreement to supply the grid.
Other lenders are the ANZ, CBD Energy, EKF, and the primary equity investor, Spain’s Banco Santander.
The Macarthur Wind Farm has the capacity to generate enough energy to power about 220,000 average Victorian households per year, while reducing carbon emissions by 1.7 million tonnes a year.
The Taralga Wind Farm will have the capacity to generate enough energy to power 45,000 homes, cutting annual carbon emissions by 250,000 tonnes.
Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation aims to mobilise capital investment in renewable energy, low-emissions technology and energy efficiency. Its investment activities are funded through a special appropriation of A$2 billion to a special account every year for five years from 1 July 2013.