Partners Group adds sixth wind farm to Australian renewables portfolio

The firm has acquired the second stage of the Murra Warra wind farm project from RES and Macquarie Capital's GIG after buying the first stage of the project in 2018.

Partners Group has acquired a 100 percent stake in the Murra Warra II Wind Farm in the Australian state of Victoria for A$180 million ($128 million; €109 million).

The Swiss-headquartered firm has purchased the second stage of the wind farm from a consortium comprising Renewable Energy Systems and Macquarie Capital’s Green Investment Group. It had already acquired the first stage of the project from the same consortium in 2018.

The asset is set to commence construction this month and is expected to be complete by mid-2022. It will comprise 38 turbines with a total nameplate capacity of 208MW, generating enough energy to power 150,000 households.

The project has entered into a long-term power purchase agreement with Snowy Hydro, the Australian government-owned hydroelectricity generator and retailer, for 100 percent of its output. The length of the PPA has not been disclosed.

Murra Warra II is the sixth Australian wind farm asset that Partners Group has purchased. It first entered the sector with an investment in the development of the 240MW Ararat Wind Farm in 2015, which it co-owns with Canadian pension OPTrust.

Partners Group also launched the Grassroots Renewable Energy Platform in May 2018 in partnership with local developer CWP Renewables. It was seeded with the 270MW Sapphire Wind Farm, and the firm subsequently invested in the 244MW Bango Wind Farm and the 137MW Crudine Ridge Wind Farm through the platform.

The firm has committed to invest $700 million in that platform to construct more than 1.3GW of renewable energy generation capacity over the next four years.

The investments in Ararat and both stages of the Murra Warra project were made outside the Grassroots platform.

A Partners Group spokeswoman declined to comment on the sources of equity funding for the latest Murra Warra II deal and why the investment had been made outside the Grassroots platform, other than to say: “As with all our investments, funding for the transaction was pulled from a number of different funds and mandates.”

In a statement on the sale, Macquarie Capital said that debt financing for the project was arranged from a banking consortium including ICBC, ING, Mizuho, MUFG, SMBC and Société Générale in accordance with the Asia Pacific Loan Market Association’s Green Loan Principles. It added that it believes this is the first time a project finance green loan has been used to fund the construction of a wind farm in Australia.

Renewable Energy Services will continue to provide construction and operational asset management services under a long-term agreement, Macquarie Capital said.