Palisade and Aware Super buy into Stockyard Hill Wind Farm

The pair have acquired a 49 percent stake in the project, which was completed earlier this year and comes with a long-term offtake agreement with Origin Energy.

Palisade Investment Partners and Aware Super are set to acquire a major stake in Stockyard Hill Wind Farm, Australia’s largest operating wind farm.

The pair are coinvesting in the acquisition of the 49 percent stake, with Palisade leading the investment via its open-end Diversified Infrastructure Fund. Infrastructure Investor understands Aware Super’s commitment to the project is between A$100 million ($67 million; €63 million) and $300 million.

The 528 MW Stockyard Hill Wind Farm has a long-term offtake agreement with Origin Energy. Located in Victoria and owned by Goldwind Stockyard Hill Wind Farm Limited, the project was completed in September and comprises 149 wind turbines.

Doha-based Nebras Power owns the bulk of the remaining stake in the wind farm, having bought into the project in 2020.

Speaking with Infrastructure Investor, Aware Super senior portfolio manager for infrastructure and real assets, Mark Hector said the deal builds on Palisade’s existing relationship with Aware Super in the renewables space, having coinvested with the superfund (then known as First State Super) in the acquisition of Snowtown 2 Wind Farm in South Australia in 2019.

As part of its strategy, the superfund looks at both greenfield and brownfield opportunities in the renewables space and made a cornerstone investment into early-stage development platform North Harbour Clean Energy earlier this year.

“The energy transition and technology and data-related deals are the two key thematics that we’ve been focused on over the last few years. Aware Super wants to be a leader in that field, in climate-friendly investments, looking at carbon reduction strategies [while] first and foremost looking at good risk-reward for our members as well,” Hector said.

“To add value to our members, we do need to take some level of risk in order to generate some outsized returns, so we are willing to take construction or development risk. But we are [also open to] buying existing operating assets that can generate some good risk-reward, and [Stockyard Hill] is definitely an example of an operating asset, with a remaining circa eight-year PPA 100 percent offtake with Origin Energy, that will produce some really good bottom-up risk-reward for our members.”

In a statement about the deal, Palisade executive director James Hann said: “Stockyard Hill provides our investors with exposure to long-term contracts cashflows and represents further diversification across our growing portfolio of renewable energy investments. This acquisition represents a continuation of our strategy to invest across the spectrum of renewable energy assets including high quality greenfield and brownfield projects.”

The deal is expected to reach financial close in January.