October 26, 2020 Read More →

French developer Neoen secures financing for largest solar power project in Australia

Renew Economy:

French renewable energy and battery storage developer Neoen says it has completed the financial close of what will be Australia’s biggest solar farm, the 400MW Western Downs Green Power Hub in south-west Queensland.

Neoen said in a statement on Monday that the debt for the $600 million project had been provided by a syndicate of seven lenders, comprising Natixis, Société Générale, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, MUFG Bank, Nord/LB, HSBC and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

The Western Downs solar project is one of a number of huge renewable energy projects contracted by various Queensland government owned utilities in the months leading up to this weekend’s crucial state election.

The newly formed CleanCo contracted to take about 80 per cent of the output of Western Downs, and has also contracted to take 400MW, and build its own wind farm, from the huge 1GW McIntyre wind complex in southern Queensland. CleanCo also signed a deal with Neoen earlier this month for a 157MW wind farm south-east of Cairns that will form the basis of what will be called the Kaban Green Power Hub.

Maia Schweizer, the CEO of CleanCo, said the Western Downs solar farm will help drive electricity affordability and create regional growth and jobs for Queenslanders. “Generation from projects like the Western Downs Green Power Hub and our portfolio of hydro and gas allows us to supply reliable clean energy products tailored to commercial and industrial customers at competitive prices.”

The Western Downs solar project – rated at 460MW (dc) and 400MW (ac) – is located near the town of Chinchilla and is being built by a team lead by engineering, procurement and construction contractor Sterling & Wilson. Generation is expected to begin in 2022. Neoen already operates the Hornsdale wind complex in South Australia, where it is majority shareholder, and the neighbouring Hornsdale Power Reserve, aka the Tesla big battery. It also owns solar farms at Numurkah in Victoria, the Griffith, Parkes and Dubbo solar farms in NSW, and the near complete Bulgana wind complex and attached Tesla battery in Victoria.

[Giles Parkinson]

More: Neoen completes finance for Australia’s biggest solar farm in Queensland

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