New joint venture targets 2 GW solar and storage build-out


Gaw Capital Partners and BW ESS, a part of Singapore-headquartered shipping and energy group BW Group, have teamed to form Valent Energy which is to develop an initial portfolio comprising one solar farm project and eight big batteries, including three in Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) that they say are fully approved and ready to build.

The venture partners announced they will invest and arrange more than $2 billion (USD 1.31 billion) in capital to support the development of the renewables projects, acquired by Gaw Capital in an acquisition in 2022 of GMR Energy, which included Maoneng Group’s Australian business.

The companies also said they will pool their resources in Valent to develop and grow its pipeline of development assets.

Valent’s existing portfolio includes the 240 MW Mornington battery energy storage system (BESS) being developed south of Melbourne in Victoria, the 250 MW Pine Lodge BESS near Shepparton in Victoria, and the 120 MW Apsley battery project south of Dubbo in NSW. The companies said planning and grid connection approvals have been secured for all three projects and contracts to start construction are being finalised.

In addition to the already approved projects, Valent said three other projects are expected to secure connection approvals early next year.

Among those projects in Valent’s development pipeline is the Merriwa Energy Hub planned for the NSW Hunter region. The project comprises a 550 MW solar farm and a 400 MW/1,600 MWh battery.

Former chief executive of Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Macquarie Bank executive Oliver Yates, who has been appointed director of Valent, said the arrival of the new venture comes at an opportune time with the deployment of dispatchable grid-scale energy storage critical for Australia’s shift to intermittent renewable energy generation.

“With the rollout of substantial government policy to support battery projects, and the record periods of negative prices during daytime solar floods, the moment could not be a timelier for Valent to build large-scale batteries,” Yates said.

BW ESS Chief Executive Erik Stromso said the companies’ respective strengths in industry and capital markets will ensure Valent will be well positioned to accelerate the growth of Australia’s energy storage capacity, enabling its transition to clean energy.

In addition to Valent, BW ESS has built a portfolio of more than 1.5 GW of battery energy storage projects in the United Kingdom and Nordic countries, with more than 400 MWh currently under construction.

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