Palisade, Northleaf in A$228m wind farm deal

EnergyAustralia will retain a 25% interest and will continue to manage the asset.

EnergyAustralia has sold a 75 percent stake in Waterloo wind farm to infrastructure fund managers Palisade Investment Partners and Northleaf Capital Partners for $226 million, the energy retailer said in a statement.

The company will retain a 25 percent equity interest in the 111-megawatt (MW) capacity wind farm, located near Clare, South Australia, and will continue to operate the facility in accordance with a long-term contract it has signed with the joint entity.

EnergyAustralia will also continue to be a long-term off-taker for both energy and large-scale generation certificates produced by the wind farm as it is obligated to do under the Renewable Energy Target Scheme.

“This transaction enables EnergyAustralia to retain off-take arrangements for renewable energy and provide asset management services for Waterloo, while liberating capital to invest in future projects,” said Ross Edwards, the company’s executive manager of business development.

Some future projects will include the Australia-based fund manager Palisade, which has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with EnergyAustralia regarding the two entities’ collaboration in renewable energy.

“Palisade is looking forward to working alongside EnergyAustralia to continue the build out of our existing renewable energy and generation infrastructure portfolio in Australia,” Palisade managing director, Ian Mitchell, said.

Jamie Storrow, managing director and co-head of Canada-based Northleaf Capital Partners’ infrastructure investment programme, described the Waterloo investment as being in line with the fund manager’s investment strategy.

“Direct investment in mature, low risk wind energy assets like the Waterloo wind farm is consistent with Northleaf Capital Partners’ investment strategy and offers significant potential for stable, long-term returns,” he said.

The fund managers’ investors will also have the option to participate in a planned 18MW expansion of the wind farm, currently being assessed for local government planning approval, according to EnergyAustralia’s statement.

Until October 2012, EnergyAustralia was known as TRUenergy. In 2011, TRUenergy, a unit of Hong Kong-based energy company CLP Holdings, bought EnergyAustralia, from the New South Wales government. The resulting entity serves 2.7 million commercial and residential clients, owns and operates energy generation and storage facilities, and invests in energy-related projects.