Firm: Ashurst and Gadens (Sunshine Coast Council)
Deal: The Sunshine Coast Council established the Sunshine Coast Solar Farm to service 100 per cent of its energy needs.
Value: $50.4 million
Area: Energy and utilities
Key players: The Ashurst team advising the Sunshine Coast Council was led by partner Paul Newman, and included lead counsel Teresa Scott and lawyer Julia Goncalves.
The Gadens construction, infrastructure and procurement team advising the Sunshine Coast Council was led by partner Paul Muscat.
Deal significance: The Sunshine Coast Council established the 15MW Sunshine Coast Solar Farm, making it the first local government in the country to offset 100 per cent of its electricity consumption with renewable energy.
The solar farm, located at Valdora, is the second-largest in Queensland and the sixth-largest in Australia, according to a statement from Ashurst. The 15 megawatts of energy it generates will go into the Energex network, owned by the Queensland government.
The energy generated by the farm will offset the power from all the Council’s facilities, including administration buildings, aquatic centres, libraries, art galleries and sporting facilities.
Ashurst said that over one year the farm will generate enough power for the equivalent of 5,000 homes. The project is set to save taxpayers $22 million, after costs, over the next 30 years.
“It was a pleasure to work with Council on this innovative project, and be part of Council’s vision of making the Sunshine Coast Australia’s most sustainable region,” said lead counsel Teresa Scott.
“Many large users talk about their commitment to using renewable energy sources, Council have just set a new standard.”
Sunshine Coast Council procurement and contracts manager Paul Skillen said the Gadens team assisted with many aspects of the deal.
"Paul [Muscat] proactively assisted Council from the preparation of the procurement plan to undertaking Council’s first ever early tenderer involvement process, and subsequent tender," Mr Skillen said.
"Paul and his team then drafted all of the post-tender Design & Build and Operate & Maintain contract documentation and has advised and assisted Council in relation to the administration of the Design & Build contract during the current construction phase of the project.
"We will continue to instruct Paul in relation to the ongoing administration of the Design & Build contract and the subsequent Operate & Maintain contract."