Brazilian renewable energy firm sets up office in Melbourne

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The latest in a series of international players to enter Australia’s renewable energy market, Brazilian energy services firm Grupo Energia has chosen Melbourne to establish its Australian/New Zealand headquarters. The decision is a welcome one providing further evidence of the market’s attractiveness despite a turmoil in the solar construction sector and a drastic drop in investor confidence, which has seen one of the leading investors, John Laing, exit the market.

Victoria’s Minister for Energy Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer Steve Dimopoulos announced on Friday that Grupo Energia would create up to 70 new local jobs as part of its investment in Victoria including technical, commercial and engineering roles. “The fact that yet another global company has chosen to invest in Victoria’s thriving renewable energy industry speaks volumes about our strong credentials in this sector,” D’Ambrosio said.

It is the latest company to invest in Victoria’s renewable energy industry, following in the footsteps of Mainstream Renewable Power, Total Eren, Tilt Renewables, Acciona Nordex, BayWa re, X-Elio and Iberdrola. The government’s support appears to have been crucial in the company’s decision to locate its business in Victoria, adding to the state’s renewable energy credentials. “The Victorian Government’s support was instrumental to our decision to locate the company’s Australia & NZ headquarters in Melbourne,” said Grupo Energia’s CEO Rubens Brandt.

Founded in 2004 in Brazil, Grupo Energia is focused on delivering complete solutions to wind, solar, hydro and other alternative power sources and energy storage systems. The company has gained prominence in Brazil and across Latin America, delivering advisory, management and operation support for solar, wind, hydroelectric and other renewable power generation projects. It also specializes in energy storage and power transmission management.

Grid-scale batteries and transmission upgrades will be priority projects in Victoria as it seeks to break away from national electricity rules and introduce its own legislation that will make room for more large-scale solar and wind on the grid. The Victorian government’s reforms unveiled last month will seek to override the current “complex and outdated” national regulatory regime that has led to grid bottlenecks and delays.

Over the next 10 years, Victoria is looking to increase the share of electricity generated by renewables to 25% by 2020, 40% by 2025 and 50% by 2030. These targets are expected to create around 24,000 jobs by 2030 and drive an additional $5.8 billion in economic activity in Victoria, the state administration calculates.

The Victorian government also prides itself on its competitive financial services sector ready to support new energy technology investments, providing a solid base for expansion into the Asia Pacific region. Investment from South American-based companies, such as Grupo Energia, is also backed through the government’s Invest Victoria and its Victorian Government Trade and Investment office in Santiago.