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Giant wind farm signals positive change

Giant wind farm signals positive change

AGL Energy Limited and New Zealand-based Meridian Energy have agreed to construct the southern hemisphere's largest wind farm, marking the start of the first significant renewable energy project…

AGL Energy Limited and New Zealand-based Meridian Energy have agreed to construct the southern hemisphere's largest wind farm, marking the start of the first significant renewable energy project since the April restructure.

According to Norton Rose partner Vincent Dwyer, who acted for AGL along with Freehills' Toby Anderson, the $1 billion Macarthur Wind Farm deal is indicative of the fact renewable energy is once again an attractive investment proposition.

"I think that from now, people will start getting more comfortable with making investment in renewable energy, whereas during the last 18 months or so people have been really hesitant because of a lack of decent incentives," he told Lawyers Weekly.

"The train has now left the station and others will start to come along, albeit with more modest plans, now that AGL has shown the way."

The 420 mega watt farm will be constructed near Hamilton, west of Melbourne, and will be amongst the largest in the world.

"I think it is market leading, but if renewable energy is to go where it needs to go ... projects have to be this sort of size," said Dwyer.

Allens Arthur Robinson partner Anna Collyer, who acted for Meridian, also said she sees the deal as signalling positive change in the sector.

"This transaction shows that companies are prepared to make major investments in renewable energy as part of the solution to climate change provided the regulatory environment supports it," she said.

"The recent enhancements to the renewable energy target provided the investment certainty they needed."

Freehills advised AGL on the negotiations with Leighton Contractors and Vestas for two EPC Contracts - one for the construction of the wind farm and one for the construction of the related 500 kV substation. The Freehills team was led by partner Toby Anderson, along with senior associate, Kris Percy, working closely with AGL senior corporate lawyer, Kirstin Mann.

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