Port Augusta renewables project gets expansion funding

wind farm

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and specialist infrastructure debt investment manager Westbourne Capital have committed $160 million in finance to construct stage two of Nexif Energy’s Lincoln Gap Wind Farm in South Australia.

The additional CEFC commitment, of $50 million, takes its overall senior debt commitment in the project to $200 million, representing its largest investment in a single wind farm development to date.

When complete, the Lincoln Gap Wind Farm near Port Augusta will have a total generating capacity of more than 212 MW, producing enough energy to power 155,000 homes. It will offset some 680,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

CEFC Wind sector lead Andrew Gardner said, “This debt finance package sees Westbourne Capital participating as a mezzanine debt lender alongside our senior debt commitment.

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“The ability to fold mezzanine debt into finance for new build wind farms in this manner creates new investment opportunities for non-bank lenders to further support the growth of the renewable energy sector.”

Westbourne Capital Managing Director David Ridley said Lincoln Gap Wind Farm represents Westbourne’s second debt investment in the Australian renewables space and demonstrates the growing interest from institutional investors seeking to access well-structured transactions in the sector.

The Lincoln Gap Wind Farm has secured long-term commitments for purchase of Large-Scale Generation Certificates by ERM Power and two long-term energy offtake agreements with Snowy Hydro.

The project is Australia’s first greenfield wind development to feature an unsubsidised large-scale grid-connected battery, with developer Nexif Energy to use the Fluence industrial-grade Advancion energy storage platform at the development.

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Nexif’s executive vice president, Development, Enamul Latifi acknowledged the support of the CEFC and Westbourne Capital in financing the stage two expansion.

“This is a continuation of our investment in South Australia, where we are incredibly excited to be at the forefront of clean energy solutions for the state,’’ Mr Latifi said.

“There remains potential to further expand Lincoln Gap and we are now working on feasibility studies to determine how large that could be, as well as trying to bring technologies together to add solar to the wind energy and battery storage at Lincoln Gap to create a genuine hybrid energy hub.”

Construction of Lincoln Gap stage two is expected to begin early in 2019, providing local employment opportunities.

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