Financial close has been achieved on Australia’s flagship A$2 billion ($1,3bn) Golden Plains energy transition project – the 1.3GW onshore wind farm 130km west of Melbourne, the capital of Victoria.
This is the first Australian deal to have been led by TagEnergy – a renewables company that is widely tipped to become a major player in Australia. It is led by chief executive Franck Woitiez who spearheaded Neoen’s growth in Oz.
The original developer WestWind is very much a minority shareholder in the Golden Plains equity, but it has a long history of developing wind projects in Victoria including Lal Lal Wind Farm which was acquired by Macquarie and sold to infrastructure funds.
The first phase of Golden Plains has been financed on a purely merchant basis – a first for a wind farm of this scale in Australia and one of the largest merchant financings of a wind farm globally.
The lenders on the debt package which is understood to amount to "less than half of the total value" (according to sources), therefore amounting to less than A$1 billion are:
- Australian Clean Energy Finance Corporation
- Bank of China
- Commonwealth Bank of Australia
- KfW IPEX-Bank – A$160 million
- Mizuho Bank
- Westpac Banking Corporation
Construction on the first phase of Golden Plains will start early next year (2023) and will have a capacity of 756MW from 122x 6.2MW turbines from the Danish manufacturer Vestas – hence the involvement of EKF.
The final capacity of 1.3GW will involve the installation of up to 228x turbines once both phases have been completed, making it Australia’s largest wind project.
In addition, there are plans to install a battery energy storage system (BESS) with a capacity of 300MW.
Vestas Australia has been mandated for the turnkey EPC contract alongside a 30-year full maintenance contract for the operating phase.
The wind farm will be connected to the local transmission grid through a new substation to be built by Australian grid operator AusNet.