BlackRock has raised more than A$500m (€303m) from Australian and global institutional and sovereign co-investors to fund a battery energy storage project in Australia.
Australia’s green bank, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), has committed A$100m to the BlackRock fund which will help finance the Waratah Super Battery (WSB) project in New South Wales. Other investors include NGS Super, a not-for-profit fund aiming to achieve a carbon-neutral investment portfolio by 2030.
Funds managed by BlackRock’s Infrastructure team will co-invest alongside to finance the construction of the WSB, described as the largest standby network battery in the Southern Hemisphere.
The battery system will be built on the site of a decommissioned coal-fired power station on the state’s Central Coast.
The WSB forms part of the Sydney Ring Project, identified as a priority project in the Australian Energy Market Operator Integrated System Plan 2022, which maps the investment required to achieve a targetted 82% renewables by 2030.
Ian Learmonth, chief executive officer, CEFC, said: “Long- and short-duration storage assets are critical to building an energy network fit for purpose in the 21st century, enabling Australia to capitalise on its abundant natural resources of wind and solar to decarbonise the grid.
“Battery storage underpins a future balanced grid, ensuring that more clean energy can reach more consumers and provide network stability as coal continues to exit the network earlier than predicted.”
Monique Miller, CEFC’s renewables and sustainable finance CIO, said: “The CEFC has co-invested with BlackRock on renewables since 2016, when Blackrock sponsored a number of projects under the ARENA Large Scale Solar PV Competitive Round, to which CEFC was a lender.”
Ben Squires, CIO of NGS Super, said the Waratah Super Battery was a critical piece of infrastructure for NSW’s energy future. “By investing in this innovative project, we are driving positive environmental impact and generating long-term value for our members and stakeholders”.
Charlie Reid, BlackRock’s APAC co-head of climate infrastructure, said provision of the storage capacity needed to enable greater reliability and resilience to the power grid would help Australia achieve its renewable ambitions.
Andrew Landman, BlackRock’s head of Australasia, said the investment in WSB was a “prime example” of how the private sector could partner with governments at all levels to support Australia’s orderly transition to a low-carbon world.
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