A team composed of Partners Group, majority shareholder, Renewable Energy Systems (RES), General Electric, and Canadian pension fund OPTrust has reached financial close for the 240MW Ararat wind farm in Victoria, Australia.
The lenders – Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Export Development Canada (EDC) – are financing what is one of Australia’s largest locally developed wind farms.
The project benefits from a feed-in-tariff from the Australian Capital Territory for part of its output, with the remaining output being uncontracted at close. This is the first wind farm to be project financed on a partially merchant basis in Australia, and also the first greenfield wind farm financed in Australia by EDC, the Canadian export credit agency.
Ararat Wind Farm is a new-build site located on rural land approximately 180 km northwest of Melbourne. The project consists of 75 wind turbines with an expected rated capacity of up to 3.4 MW each, bringing the total generating capacity to roughly 240 MW.
CEFC CEO Oliver Yates said:
“This 240MW project is set to be the third largest wind farm in Australia, and has attracted almost half a billion dollars of direct international investment into Victoria. In addition, 35 of the towers will be built in Portland, Victoria by Keppel Prince. We are pleased to be supporting a project that is helping grow Australia’s local industry so that it can meet the demand we expect will result from the revised RET.”
Construction of the Ararat Wind Farm began in July 2015, by a consortium of GE and Downer EDI. Construction is progressing to schedule, with power expected to be delivered to the grid from April 2017.
Norton Rose Fulbright has advised the lenders in the financial close of the project. Herbert Smith Freehills has advised the project company.