CEFC invests $700m in regional wind projects

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has reached a milestone in its renewable energy portfolio, announcing its 10th investment in a large-scale wind project.

The latest investment, $38 million to the 135MW Crudine Ridge Wind Farm near Mudgee in NSW, will see the CEFC’s overall commitment to wind top $700 million since it began investing in 2013.

The $250 million Crudine Ridge Wind Farm, being developed by CWP Renewables and Partners Group, will provide enough electricity to power around 55,000 homes each year.

CEFC wind commitments have catalysed an additional $3.1 billion in private sector capital, driving significant investment to accelerate the development of more than 1.65 GW of additional renewable energy capacity.

“CEFC finance has helped deliver almost 30 per cent of new wind capacity in Australia since 2013, contributing to a robust ecosystem of local and international project developers, contractors, advisors and financial institutions,” CEFC Wind Investment lead Andrew Gardner said.

“We are proud to have worked alongside project developers and other financiers to deliver significant growth in this important clean energy source, which is critical to reducing emissions from our energy-intensive electricity sector.

“Large-scale wind projects such as the Crudine Ridge Wind Farm continue to deliver new sources of revenue and jobs to regional and rural communities, enabling them to tap into the benefits of abundant and low cost clean energy resources.”

The wind farm is expected to support 75 full time equivalent jobs during construction, stimulating further investment in local businesses and services.

CWP Renewables CEO Alex Hewitt said it is the company’s third wind farm in NSW and the second project with the CEFC.

“Half of the project’s generation is being sold to green energy retailer, Meridian Energy and the remainder is being purchased progressively by corporate customers,” Mr Hewitt said.

“We are very impressed by the level of interest from large energy users, who are seeking competitively priced clean energy that can be shaped to their specific electricity requirements.”

The 10 wind projects directly financed by the CEFC are in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.

The CEFC has also indirectly invested in wind projects via its commitments to green bonds and equity funds.

Since the CEFC began investing in 2013, a total of 44 wind projects have been built or reached financial close in Australia.

Those projects amount to more than 6GW of new capacity and represent around $13 billion of new investment.

“Every CEFC dollar of direct investment in wind projects has been matched by more than $4.40 from the private sector, to support projects with a total value of $3.8 billion,” CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said.

“This is a very robust level of private sector capital and confirms the critical role we are playing in accelerating the flow of finance into clean energy investment while helping to drive down development and energy costs.

“Australia has seen enormous progress in lowering the levelised cost of wind through declining up-front installation costs, increased turbine sizes and longer turbine design lives.”