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Australia’s biggest wind farm goes ahead

Australia’s biggest wind farm goes ahead

Wind farm

The sale, funding and delivery arrangements for the Coopers Gap Wind Farm Project have been finalised.

Firms: Allens (AGL Energy Limited); King & Wood Mallesons (Queensland Investment Corporation and Future Fund); Ashurst (General Electric); Herbert Smith Freehills (AGL Energy Limited and lenders)

Deal: AGL Energy Limited sold the Coopers Gap Wind Farm Project to the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF), to be constructed and operated by General Electric.

Value: $850 million

Area: Projects, energy and resources

Key players: The Ashurst team advising General Electric was led by partner Gareth Sage.

The Allens team advising AGL was led by partners Kate Axup and Michael Ryan.

The Herbert Smith Freehills team advising AGL was led by partners Kris Percy and Toby Anderson. Planning advice was led by partner Peter Briggs, partner Luke Simpson led the team advising AGL on land, and partner William Oxby led on cultural heritage advice. A separate team, led by partners Elizabeth Charlesworth and Gerard Pike, advised lenders.

The King & Wood Mallesons team advising the Queensland Investment Corporation and the Future Fund was led by partners Roderick Smythe and Craig Rogers.

Deal significance: The Coopers Gap Wind Farm Project in Queensland is several steps closer to being realised, with funding, construction and operation agreements secured.

AGL Energy Limited sold the 453-megawatt project to the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF), which is a partnership between AGL, Queensland Investment Corporation and the Australian Government Future Fund.

General Electric (GE) and engineering company Catcon secured the contract for the engineering, procurement and construction of the wind farm. GE will supply the turbines and Catcon will construct the facility. GE also secured a 25-year full-service maintenance agreement.

Once completed, the $850 million project will generate enough energy to power more than 260,000 homes.

The project will be financed by a group of seven banks: ABN AMRO Bank, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd, DBS Bank, Mizuho Bank, Societe Generale, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Westpac Banking Corporation.

Coopers Gap is the second greenfield project acquired by PARF, following the Silverton acquisition in NSW earlier this year.

Allens lead partner Kate Axup said the deal is an important step towards achieving Australia’s renewable energy commitments.

“It is very rewarding to work with AGL on its commitment to the PARF and to be part of the team building the PARF into a leading renewable energy investment fund that will help achieve the 2020 renewable energy target and assist with the development of Australia’s energy market,” she said.

Joint lead partner Michael Ryan said, “Coopers Gap will be one of the largest single wind projects in Australia and the largest in Queensland by some margin. It is a strong testament to the commitment of the PARF investors to the PARF to project finance a project of this magnitude and we are delighted to have partnered with them to achieve that.”

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