Required to source up to additional 300 MW of green power within three years and meet its 2020 renewable energy commitments, Western Australia’s electricity provider Synergy is looking to partner with a Dutch investment fund, which has not been officially named, but in media reports identified as Dutch Infrastructure Fund.
While the final agreement is still being awaited, it is known that the energy deal will be similar to the one of AGL Energy and its Powering Australian Renewable Fund, meaning that Synergy will not need to rely on its own coffers to invest in green projects, but will have to share the earnings with its new partner.
Earlier in January, Synergy’s efforts to spin off its renewable assets to a separate $200 million green fund, and attract private capital, were thwarted by the Barnett cabinet before the March state election. However, with investment bank Macquarie as advisor on the formation of the fund, the plans now appear to have been brought to fruition.
According to the West Australian, Synergy will transfer the Albany and Grasmere wind farms into the fund along with the 10 MW Greenough River solar project near Geraldton, known as Australia’s first utility-scale solar farm, retaining only a minority stake.
In addition, the private equity partner will acquire the rights to expand the Greenough River Solar Farm to 40 MW, and develop the Warradarge wind-farm project in the Mid West region, whose development capacity reaches 240 MW.
The new fund is supposed to ensure that the state-owned utility meets its commitments under the Federal Government’s renewable energy target, under which 23.5% of Australia’s electricity should be sourced from renewables by 2020, as well as to save the government as much as $463 million needed for Synergy’s requirements under the RET.
Dutch Infrastructure Fund has already made its presence known Down Under having invested in several major solar projects, including the 220 MW Bungala solar project in South Australia, the 125 MW Clare solar farm in Queensland as well as the 20 MW Royalla solar farm.