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University commits to renewable energy contract

UNSW Sydney has been advised on an innovative long-term renewable energy power purchase agreement.

user iconEmma Musgrave 17 January 2018 Big Law
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Firms: Norton Rose Fulbright (UNSW); Clifford Chance (Maoneng Australia); Hive Legal (Origin Energy)

Deal: UNSW has entered into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the 200 megawatt (MW) Sunraysia Solar Farm, located near Balranald in south western NSW, owned and developed by Maoneng Australia.

Value: Undisclosed


Area: Energy and resources

Key players: The Norton Rose Fulbright team was led by global head of energy Simon Currie and included senior consultant Kelly Davies and lawyer Jacqueline Fetchet.

The Clifford Chance legal team was led by head of head of renewable energy Asia-Pacific Philip Sealey.

Deal significance: According to a statement from Norton Rose Fulbright, the arrangement with Origin and Maoneng allows UNSW to meets its zero carbon goals and provides a long-term price hedge in a volatile NSW electricity market.

This transaction sees UNSW enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the 200 megawatt (MW) Sunraysia Solar Farm, located near Balranald in south western NSW, owned and developed by Maoneng Australia. Origin will supply electricity to UNSW’s premises and “firm the volumes provided by the solar farm, the firm noted.

“Construction of the Sunraysia Solar Farm will commence in early 2018, and it is scheduled to be fully operational and commence supply to UNSW by mid-2019,” a NRF statement said.

“Commitments by the developer under the PPA will ensure economic benefits flow through to the local community and deliver opportunities for collaboration and knowledge sharing with UNSW for university students and staff.”

Commenting further on the deal, Mr Currie said: “The university sector is a key focus for Norton Rose Fulbright. UNSW has helped develop a model which we believe can be replicated throughout Australia and help universities and other users meet their sustainability goals and achieve a lower all-in power price.”

A similar sentiment was offered by Ms Davies.

“UNSW is a true leader of innovation,” she said.

“The PPA market has been extremely dynamic in the last 12 months and deals like UNSW’s have been critical in driving real change in the way universities and other users procure energy.

“The UNSW model is just one example of this and will undoubtedly open doors for others to follow as the wave of corporate PPAs continues into 2018.”
Clifford Chance’s Philip Sealey added: “UNSW has set the goal to achieve carbon neutrality for energy use by 2020”.

“We are delighted to have supported Maoneng in its collaboration with UNSW and Origin to develop an energy procurement solution to meet the university’s needs.”