Australia’s largest wind farm reaches financial close

AGL Energy’s 453MW Coopers Gap Wind Farm has reached financial close into the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF).

The wind farm, located at Cooranga North, 250km north-west of Brisbane, will be the largest in Australia.

It will produce approximately 1.5 million MWh of renewable energy annually – enough to power the equivalent of more than 260,000 average Australian homes and reduce CO2 emissions by 1.18 million tonnes each year.

The $22 million sale of the project into PARF includes a power purchase agreement written by AGL at a bundled offtake price of less than $60/MWh (real) for five years.

“More than 800 MW of projects have now been vended into PARF since its inception in July 2016, following the earlier transactions involving the Silverton Wind Farm project and Nyngan and Broken Hill solar plants in New South Wales,” AGL managing director and CEO Andy Vesey said.

AGL has named a joint venture consisting of GE and Catcon as the successful tenderer for the engineering procurement contract.

Coopers Gap Wind Farm is a landmark project for GE as it is not only the country’s largest, but the company’s first wind project in Queensland.

It is the second major renewables project that GE and AGL have announced this year, following the Silverton Wind Farm in western New South Wales.

“We are proud to be working with AGL to support Australia’s transition to a cleaner, modern energy system,” GE Australia president and CEO Geoff Culbert said.

“AGL’s commitment to a lower emissions future is clear. The company announced earlier this year it would ramp up investment in renewable energy and completely decarbonise its generation by 2050.

“This wind farm represents a significant step towards that goal and we are proud to be a part of that.”

GE will deliver 91 of its 3.6MW turbines with 137m rotors, and 32 of its 3.8MW turbines with 130m rotors.

AGL anticipates the total development investment associated with the Coopers Gap project will be approximately $850 million, funded through a combination of PARF partners’ equity and a lending group comprising Westpac Banking Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Societe Generale, DBS Bank, Mizuho Bank and ABN Amro.

“The strong support we have received from our equity partners and lenders for these projects is testament to the readiness of the private sector to invest in Australia‘s energy transformation,” Mr Vesey said.

“Certainty on energy policy, including the implementation of the recommendations of the Finkel review, will enable more projects of this kind to go ahead and help place downward pressure on energy prices by increasing supply.”

PARF is aiming to develop approximately 1000MW of large-scale renewable energy projects to be operated and managed by AGL.

The project is expected to be complete by mid-2019.