Collie Battery to get slice of Neoen’s $1.1 billion finance pie

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Neoen says it has raised more than $1.1 billion (USD 720 million) in new debt finance that covers a significant portion of its Australian portfolio of clean energy projects that exceeds 3.75 GW of assets currently under construction or in operation.

The debt package, described by Neoen as “one of the largest for a renewable energy portfolio in Australia,” spans seven solar, wind and battery storage assets across five states with a combined generation capacity of 1.5 GW.

This includes the Numurkah Solar Farm in Victoria, the Western Downs Green Power Hub in Queensland and the Coleambally Solar Farm in New South Wales, as well as four wind farms – Bulgana in Victoria and the three stages of the Hornsdale wind complex in South Australia.

The finance deal, which includes $55 million from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), will also help finance the development of the Collie Battery Stage 1 that is due to be completed later this year.

The four-hour battery, currently being constructed near the town of the same name about 200 kilometres south of Perth, is Neoen’s longest-duration battery project so far and its first major project in the state.

The project is also the first WA big battery to be financed by the CEFC, with Chief Investment Officer Monique Miller saying long-duration storage has an important role to play in decarbonising the WA energy network and transitioning to a grid powered by renewable energy.

“Running from Kalbarri in the north to Albany in the south and Kalgoorlie in the east, the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) network is vital to a stable energy supply across this vast state so it is fitting that the CEFC’s first long-duration battery in WA is supporting the SWIS in delivering clean energy to West Australian homes and businesses,” she said.

Stage one of the project, which has been contracted by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to help strengthen the South West Interconnected transmission system, involves less than a quarter of the project’s eventual capacity with approvals in place for the battery to scale to 1 GW /4 GWh.

When complete, the Collie Battery will provide bulk energy transfer services for power in WA, soaking up solar during the day when energy demand is low and dispatching it into the SWIS to support the network during peak evening demand.

The CEFC is one of 11 Australian and international lenders that took part in the debt financing package. Other lenders include Bank of China, China Construction Bank Corporation, Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), ING, Mizuho, MUFG Bank, and Societe Generale.

Neoen Australia Chief Executive Louis de Sambucy said The financing package provides the company with further flexibility to grow its portfolio into the future.

“This transaction demonstrates the unique combined value of our portfolio and strengthens our business model of long-term owner and operator,” he said. “It provides a solid foundation for future growth and for achieving our ambition of 10 GW in Australia by 2030.”

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