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New dawn for Queensland energy project

New dawn for Queensland energy project

The latest solar farm under the federal government’s ARENA fund to reach project financial close has been sold to APA Power Holdings.

Firms: Herbert Smith Freehills (APA Power Holdings); King & Wood Mallesons (Origin Energy Limited); DLA Piper (Australian Renewable Energy Agency [ARENA])

Deal: The Darling Downs Solar Farm has been sold by Origin Energy Limited (Origin) to APA Power Holdings (APA).

Value: $20 million

Area: M&A

Key players: The KWM team advising Origin was led by partner Scott Gardiner (pictured) with support from solicitor Shirley Cheng. Partner Shannon Etwell advised on the construction-related aspects of the deal with support from solicitor Nicole Wieringa.

The DLA team advising ARENA was led by partner Kate Papailiou, with assistance from senior associates Marnie Carroll and Bing Wang.

Deal significance:

The Darling Downs Solar Farm is located in Dalby, Queensland. The 110MW (AC) solar farm has been to APA with a 13-year offtake. KWM team advised Origin on all aspects of the offtake agreement and sale. 

KWM previously advised Origin on securing $20 million in funding for the development of the Queensland project from (ARENA). Those funds will now be provided to APA as the new owner of Darling Downs.

DLA, working as portfolio counsel, advised ARENA throughout the sale process, including evaluating each bidder's response to the ARENA Funding Agreement. The firm also negotiated and finalised the arrangements with APA for the $20 million in grant funding to the project.

Commenting on the deal, lead KWM partner Scott Gardiner said that his team was pleased to have supported Origin on a successful sale.

“Origin is committed to increasing the uptake of renewable energy in Australia, and this agreement will take them one step further to achieving their goal of building or contracting 1,500MW of new large-scale renewable generation of 2020,” Mr Gardiner said.

DLA lead partner Kate Papailiou noted that more similar projects are on the horizon for Australia’s renewable energy sector.

“Utility-scale Solar PV has certainly ‘come of age’ in Australia over the past six months, and we're excited to see a healthy pipeline of large-scale projects building beyond the completion of the funding round,” Ms Papailiou said.

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