Neoen to build 100MW Aussie wind farm

French renewable energy firm Neoen and its partners have secured a $195m long-term debt financing package from KfW IPEX-Bank and Société Générale.

Teaming with international infrastructure investor John Laing and Australian renewable energy investor and adviser Megawatt Capital Investments, France's Neoen has obtained all final approvals and reached financial close for the 100-megawatt (MW) first phase of the 270-MW Hornsdale Wind Farm project.

The firm has secured a $195 million long-term debt financing package with KfW IPEX-Bank and Société Générale. Another $27 million comes from a junior debt package at holdco level with Investec Bank. 

The wind farm is located near the Australian town of Jamestown, 200 kilometres north of Adelaide, in South Australia, and will comprise 32 wind turbines manufactured by Siemens. 

Siemens will supply and build the wind turbines, as well as maintain the wind farm under a long-term maintenance contract.

Construction started last month and is expected to be completed by November 2016. Upon completion, the wind farm will produce over 400 gigawatt hours (GWh) annually, enough to provide clean, emission-free power for more than 70,000 Australian homes.

The project is underpinned by a 20-year contract to sell its generated electricity to the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) at a fixed price of A$0.092 (€0.058; $0.064) per kWh.

The project will provide 20 percent of ACT's power needs and move the territory closer to realising its target of having 90 percent of its electricity supplied by renewable sources by 2020.

Mark Schneider, principal of Megawatt Capital Investments, pointed out that with the Federal Renewable Energy Target now secure till 2030, the opportunity exists for other governments and large power purchasers to follow ACT's example.

Franck Woitiez, managing director of Neoen Australia, commented: “In Australia since 2012, Neoen has developed more than 1.5GW of renewable energy projects. The Hornsdale Wind Farm is our second project starting construction this year, and the quality of the relationship with all the stakeholders, added to the exceptional wind resource at Hornsdale have turned it into a winning project under the ACT Wing Auction and a great business opportunity. Neoen is now ready to build the next 170MW of Hornsdale Wind Farm.”

In addition, Neoen also invested in the 10.6MW solar PV project with storage at the DeGrussa Copper Mine in Western Australia in July.