Melbourne-based investment firm Merricks Capital has won $37 million in funding from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to build a 10 MW solar farm and a 12 MW gas power plant in Batchelor, 100km south of Darwin.
Politically, putting these projects next to each other is like seating Sir David Attenborough next to Donald Trump, but economically they’re both bankable, and that’s all Merricks Capital cares about. The two generators are set to be the first non-government owned and operated power stations in the NT, selling their generated energy to a private retailer, Rimfire.
Batchelor is already home to a 12 MW solar farm, that owned by Italian oil giant subsidiary Eni Australia. The continual construction of projects of this size gradually contributes to the NT’s renewable energy target of 50% by 2030.
Marricks Capital CEO Adrian Redlich said that NAIF’s support would help the private sector deliver “cheaper and greener power,” replenishing “its ageing power fleet” and doing “our part for the environment.”
NAIF now has more than $830 million in loans dished out across seven projects in the Territory. A considerable amount, although NAIF has $612 million in funding holed up long-term concessional loan funding for the Kidston Pumped Hydro project, 12% of NAIF’s working budget.
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt, said these projects would help to “modernise Darwin’s energy networks and reduce reliance on older and less-efficient gas and diesel generators.” While Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister, Angus Taylor, said that the projects “will help to lower power prices for Territorians,” because ‘apparently’ energy prices never go up after the privatisation of energy sectors…
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