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Debut wind deal for QIC’s A$1bn renewables fund

The 200MW Aussie plant joins two operating solar farms backed by the vehicle last November.

Australian utility AGL Energy has sold a 200MW wind farm to the Powering Australian Renewables Fund, a renewables investment vehicle it set up last year in partnership with QIC and Future Fund. 

The facility, expected to cost A$450 million ($339 million; €318 million), is backed by lenders including Westpac, National Australia Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui, Mitsubishi UFJ, Société Générale and DBS Bank. 

As part of the A$36 million transaction, AGL has signed an offtake agreement with the Silverton wind farm under which the facility will sell its output at A$65 per MWh for an initial five-year period. The plant is due to become operational by mid-2018.

The Australian utility said it posted nearly no profit from the sale. 

The Silverton wind farm is the first greenfield project acquired by the Powering Australian Renewables Fund. Two operating solar farms, with a combined capacity of 155MW, were transferred from AGL to the vehicle as seed assets last November. 

The A$1 billion fund, established by AGL in February 2016, aims to develop 1GW of renewable energy capacity in Australia. The utility made a seed investment of A$200 million in the vehicle, while QIC committed A$800 million to the fund on behalf of the Future Fund and the QIC Global Infrastructure Fund. 

“The momentum we’re experiencing with the PARF is pleasing and proves that investor support exists for large-scale renewables development. However, further comprehensive policy changes are required to facilitate Australia’s transition to a low-carbon economy,” said Andy Vesey, managing director and chief executive of AGL. 

Australia’s national renewable energy target requires the country to have at least 20 percent of its electricity generated from renewable sources by 2020. That represents an estimated 5GW of new clean energy capacity, of which the fund’s portfolio is expected to contribute about 20 percent.