UK fund manager backs NT venture to generate $50 billion

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Melbourne-based Octopus Australia has teamed with the Northern Territory Indigenous Business Network (NTIBN) to create Desert Springs Octopus (DSO), a renewable energy company that will look to deliver wind, solar and green hydrogen energy projects across northern Australia.

Octopus said DSO will be majority Indigenous-owned and led and shapes as a $50 billion investment opportunity over the next 10 years.

“Through Desert Springs Octopus, we will open up renewable energy and other infrastructure opportunities for First Nations Australians specifically targeting Northern Australia,” the company said in a statement.

Octopus said its “multifaceted” investment will promote renewable energy development, hydrogen production, new water infrastructure, agricultural production, energy for mining, transmission and grid build out.

“The launch of Desert Springs Octopus is incredibly exciting, and it provides a great opportunity for our First Nations communities to contribute to our journey as a nation towards net zero,” Octopus Australia energy markets head Dr Lumi Adisa said.

“Given the current dependence on fossil fuels for power generation especially in northern Australia, Desert Springs Octopus provides an avenue for Indigenous communities to not only reduce their reliance on high-polluting fuels, but also contribute significantly towards renewable energy targets in their respective states.”

DSO co-chair Bevan Mailman told the Nine Entertainment media group the venture’s plans include the development of solar and battery storage, data centres and infrastructure to link the supply to mines as well as the development of wind farms and green hydrogen projects.

The company said plans could also involve the export of clean energy from northern Australia to land-constrained nations including Singapore and Japan.

Mailman said he hopes the venture can start building its first solar project as early as next year.

The Darlington Point Solar Farm forms part of Octopus Australia’s investment portfolio.

Image: Edify

Octopus Australia, which has invested about $1 billion in renewables in the Australia – including in the 333 MW Darlington Point solar and storage project – since arriving in 2018, said DSO would seek funding from both Octopus and other investors, and involve Indigenous groups holding equity stakes.

Octopus Australia managing director Sam Reynolds said the venture, which adds to its Australian portfolio, shapes as a significant opportunity for investors to develop renewable energy infrastructure while providing meaningful long-term economic benefits to Indigenous Australians.

“Octopus was drawn to this venture initially due to the significant renewable energy investment potential, but for my team and I this goes a lot deeper,” he said.

“Through creating a partnership between the global investment community and our Indigenous communities, we hope the Desert Springs Octopus projects will provide lasting economic and cultural benefits today and for generations to come.

“We also see this as a valuable opportunity to learn from our Indigenous communities and we hope to utilise a vehicle such as Desert Springs Octopus to make this happen.”

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