Australian rule change gives green light to wind farm consortium

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Partners Group is the lead investor in a consortium financing the development of an AUD450m (€308m) wind farm in Australia.

The alternatives investment manager said it is the largest shareholder in the Ararat Wind Farm project, alongside Canadian pension fund OPTrust, General Electric and Renewable Energy Systems.

The deal was announced soon after legislation intending to limit the construction of new wind farms was passed.

Australia has slashed its Renewable Energy Target from 41,000 gigawatt hours to 33,000 gwh – higher than the 26,000 gwh wanted by some politicians.

Ararat Wind Farm, located west of Melbourne, could be the third largest wind farm in Australia when it is completed in two years’ time. It will have 75 turbines providing a total capacity of 240MW.

In February 2015, the project was awarded a 20-year feed-in tariff by the Australian Capital Territory Government for a significant portion of the wind farm’s total output. But ongoing uncertainty over the Renewable Energy Target meant the new financing deal had yet to be completed.

Benjamin Haan, managing director at Partners Group, said: “The timing of our investment aligns with increased certainty around Australia’s Renewable Energy Target, which will require a substantial build-out of renewables in the coming years.

“The wind farm will make a great contribution not only to the local community in Ararat, in the form of employment, education and investment, but also to the future of renewable energy in Australia.”

Haan, head of private infrastructure for Asia-Pacific, will join the Board of Ararat Wind Farm.

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