Partners Group bolsters Australian wind portfolio with Murra Warra deal

The acquisition of the 226MW project from RES and Macquarie Capital for ‘more than $142m’ is the Swiss firm’s fourth major wind farm investment in the country since 2015.

Partners Group has acquired a 100 percent stake in the first stage of the Murra Warra wind farm in Australia for “over A$200 million” ($142 million; €123 million), the Swiss-headquartered firm said in a statement.

Partners Group is acquiring Murra Warra I from renewable energy company Renewable Energy Systems and Macquarie Capital, in what was the latter’s largest Australian renewables investment to date. The exact price paid by Partners Group has not been disclosed.

Located approximately 30 kilometres north of Horsham in Victoria, Murra Warra I will have a total nameplate capacity of 226MW, generating enough energy to power 220,000 Australian households and offset more than 900,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year once it’s completed in mid-2019.

A power-purchase agreement is already in place – signed in December 2017 – with a “significant portion” of Murra Warra I’s output being sold to Telstra, Coca-Cola Amatil, ANZ Banking Group, the University of Melbourne and Monash University, Partners Group said, without providing a specific figure.

Benjamin Haan, partner and co-head, private infrastructure Asia-Pacific at Partners Group, said his firm believed the Australian renewable energy sector was going through a “transformative” period due to the large number of coal-fired generation retirements expected in coming years.

“Investing into a project such as Murra Warra I, where we can enter during the construction phase and successfully deliver the project through to its operation phase, is consistent with our ‘building core’ strategy in infrastructure and is Partners Group’s fourth major wind farm investment in Australia since 2015,” he said, referring to the 240MW Ararat wind farm, which started operating in mid-2017.

Partners Group recently invested A$700 million to establish Grassroots Renewable Energy, a platform it co-owns with CWP Renewables, and seeded it with the 270MW Sapphire Wind Farm. GRE also owns the under-construction Crudine Ridge Wind Farm, which has agreed a PPA with Sydney Airport to provide up to 75 percent of its energy.

Murra Warra is not part of Grassroots Renewable Energy and there are currently no plans to roll it into that platform, a spokeswoman for Partners Group said.

RES and Macquarie Capital are still developing Murra Warra II, the second stage of the project which will have a total nameplate capacity of 203MW.