Western Australia to privatise Synergy’s green projects

State agrees joint venture to meet renewable energy targets, with Dutch Infrastructure Fund reported to be in pole position to underwrite the scheme.

Western Australia approved the introduction of a private sector investor on Wednesday to form a joint venture with state-owned power utility Synergy for the development of renewable energy projects in the state.

“Synergy has selected an equity partner to move forwards with the development of up to 280MW of new renewable projects in Western Australia to 2020,” a Synergy spokesperson told Infrastructure Investor.

Local reports said Dutch Infrastructure Fund was believed to be in pole position to underwrite the venture. However, Synergy declined to identify the co-investor and DIF hadn’t responded to queries seeking comments by the time of publication.

“Final discussions are ongoing and the name of this equity partner will be announced in due course. Recent cabinet approval has provided Synergy with the necessary framework to close out the transaction,” the spokesperson added.

The key development project under this partnership is the 250MW Warradarge Wind Farm, which is considered one of the best renewable energy projects in Australia due to its location, the state government said. The pair will also jointly develop the second phase of the Greenough River Solar Farm, adding an additional 30MW.

Under the plan, Synergy will transfer part of its stakes in the Grasmere Wind Farm in Albany and stage one of the Greenough River Solar Farm to the new JV, which is understood to be designed as a fund to keep the cost of developing the new projects off the state government’s balance sheet.

The JV will help Synergy and the state meet the large-scale renewable energy target obligations, which require 33,000 GWh of renewable energy to be produced nationally by 2020 and those levels maintained until 2030, said Ben Wyatt, the state’s energy minister.