Gunning Wind Farm is the first Australian project financed wind farm to achieve financial close in 2012, and was one of the first secured project financing deals to be completed following commencement of the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 on 30 January this year.
Allens advised ACCIONA, the world’s largest independent (non-utility) renewable energy developer and owner, on all aspects of the development of the wind farm, including the project's financing arrangements, which were completed on 13 February.
Clayton Utz advised Origin Energy on the deal. Freehills advised Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria and Westpac Bank on the deal.
Located in the NSW Southern Tablelands, the 46.5 MW wind farm is now operational and ready to deliver enough renewable energy to power 23,250 homes.
Allens banking and finance partner Simon Lynch and Senior Associate Michael Ryan led the team advising ACCIONA on the project financing aspects of the wind farm.
“We have a very strong track record in project financing wind farms and are very happy to have helped ACCIONA in the financing of the Gunning Wind Farm during what is a challenging time in the debt markets,” Ryan said.
Allens partners Paul Quinn and Anna Collyer, assisted by Senior Associate Andrew Chan, advised ACCIONA on the offtake agreement that was entered into with Origin Energy for the project. Partner Adrian Chek advised on NSW stamp duty issues and Partner Michael Graves led a separate Allens team on the due diligence, property, construction and project documents.
Freehills advised joint lead arrangers and financiers Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A., (BBVA) and Westpac Banking Corporation on the project.
The Freehills team was lead by partner Brendan Quinn, supported by senior associates Gerard Pike and Chris Skordas and solicitors Joyce Cunningham and Micaela McLean.
The deal involved refinancing a bridge loan used to finance the construction of the 46.5MW wind farm in Upper Lachlan in NSW with a secured limited recourse project finance facility of A$80 million, the firm said in a statement.
Freehills’ head of Project Finance and lead partner on the Gunning Wind Farm financing, Brendan Quinn, said the deal demonstrates the ongoing strong bank appetite for project financed wind farm deals in Australia, and particularly New South Wales.
“Credit should be given to Acciona for successfully achieving construction completion and Financial Close for this next asset in its Australian wind farm portfolio,” he said.
Freehills recently advised AGL Energy Limited on the Macarthur Wind Farm, the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere.