Lightsource bp targets renewables growth after offloading solar farm portfolio

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Lightsource bp has announced the sale of five large-scale solar projects with a combined generation capacity of 1,037 MW (dc) to China-headquartered Beijing Energy International Australia (BJEI Australia) for an equity value of $813 million (USD 545 million).

The portfolio includes the 200 MW (dc) Wellington Solar Farm and the 107 MW (dc) West Wyalong Solar Farm, both in New South Wales (NSW), as well as the 210 MW (dc) Woolooga solar farm in Queensland. These plants are already in operation. Also included in the sale are the 400 MW (dc) Wellington North and 90 MW (dc) Wunghnu solar projects that are due to commence commercial operations in the second half of 2024.

Lightsource bp APAC Managing Director Adam Pegg said the sale is part of the company’s normal recycling of capital to accelerate renewable asset growth.

“There have been a number of headwinds facing the renewable industry over the past five years, and I am proud that to date we have been able to develop quality projects and deliver value in Australia,” he said.

“We will use the proceeds from this sale to accelerate the development of our pipeline across the APAC region, advancing exciting projects in New Zealand, Taiwan, and South Korea, as well as continuing to be a leader in Australia.”

Lightsource bp, which will be wholly owned by British oil and gas company bp under a deal announced earlier this month, has a solar and battery storage portfolio of more than 7.5 GW across Australia and New Zealand.

Among its projects are the 520 MW Goulburn River, the 840 MW Sandy Creek, and the 400 MW Gundary solar projects all in NSW, and the 364 MW West Mokoan Solar Farm in Victoria.

It is also exploring other investment opportunities in the sector, including wind, battery storage, and integration with green hydrogen production.

BJEI Australia Chairman Warwick Smith said the acquisition of the solar projects took the company’s Australian portfolio to more than 2 GW in planned, under construction and operational projects. Among its projects is the 290 MW Wollar Solar Farm which is being built near Mudgee in central west New South Wales

“The acquisition further underpins BJEI Australia’s commitment to the Australian renewable energy market,” he said. “Purchasing these five assets is an exciting next step in the Beijing Energy group’s growth in Australia and complements its current portfolio of solar and wind projects.”

Smith said the acquisition is part of the company’s long-term strategy to float the company on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2024 so it can be majority owned by the Australian public.

“Delivering a renewable energy company of this size and scale to the Australian market will allow for the continued growth of the business and for the Australian public to share in the long-term success of the company moving forward,” he said.

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