Super fund teams with Birdwood to target smaller-scale solar and storage


Australian renewables developer Birdwood Energy has partnered with Aware Super to establish the Birdwood Distributed Energy Platform which will primarily focus on the development of small-scale, fast deployment renewable energy generation and storage assets.

Aware has, according to media reports, made an initial commitment of $300 million to the platform but expects its investment to grow to up to $2 billion as more projects become ready for financing.

Aware portfolio manager Jired Zhou said the partnership’s planned investments will help diversify the super fund’s existing $2 billion portfolio of larger-scale wind and solar projects.

“We see tremendous opportunities in the renewable energy transition sector,” he said. “This platform will invest in a portfolio of smaller-scale, distributed renewable generation and storage assets which complement well with our existing utility scale renewable investments.”

Birdwood Energy Managing Partner Scott McGregor said the platform’s acquisition strategy will target late-stage developments, ready-to-build projects and equity investments in businesses to scale and accelerate distributed energy.

The project pipeline is expected to be composed of smaller-scale solar projects of between 30 MW to 100 MW fitted with battery energy storage systems. Birdwood said the scale of the platform is also likely to mean investing in some larger strategic projects.

Birdwood said the platform has already purchased two operating solar farms in South Australia that it is currently fitting with battery energy storage systems, and has another 10 solar and battery projects that are in development.

McGregor said the focus on small-scale solar and battery projects means the grid connection process can be streamlined, resulting in a more rapid deployment profile.

He also noted that Aware’s investment will allow it scale up the rollout of distributed energy which he expects will eventually deliver up to 60% of Australia’s future energy requirements.

“While this sector offers the cheapest, most secure and cleanest energy system, it does require investment at scale in order to achieve capital and operating efficiencies and hit our net zero targets,” he said.

“With Aware Super’s capital and support, we look forward to helping make Australia a world leader in the deployment of distributed energy resources.”

McGregor said the platform would service retail, commercial and industrial customers via offtake agreements.

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