Australia’s $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corp (CEFC) – a renewable energy fund financed by the Federal Government – is set to carry out its first investment, loaning around $100 million to the 420MW Macarthur wind farm near Victoria.
The deal will help New Zealand’s biggest power generator Meridian Energy increase its debt in the major wind project by around $170 million to about $550 million, freeing up more cash for the state-owned generator ahead of its planning IPO, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.
Meridian Energy is re-financing its 50 per cent stake in the $1 billion Macarthur project and wants to sell its stake in the wind farm ahead of a planned initial public offering expected later this year. AGL Energy owns the other 50 per cent interest in Macarthur.
The move has been met with criticism by the Opposition Spokesman for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage Greg Hunt.
“We remain opposed to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation putting at risk $10 billion of borrowed taxpayers’ money,” Mr Hunt said, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.
“We have always been critical of the CEFC being a direct competitor to those already in the renewable sector.”
With an expected operating life of 25 years, the Macarthur wind farm is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and boasts 140 Vestas turbines, each producing 3MW.