Denmark’s export credit agency EKF and the Australian Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) are among a syndicate of lenders to the first stage of Australia’s largest wind farm, set for construction next year.
The syndicated loan, the value of which has not been disclosed, is part of a A$2.1bn (US$1.4bn) financial close for the onshore Golden Plains wind farm, which includes an equity investment from Portuguese clean energy investor TagEnergy.
The mandated lead arrangers on the deal are the Bank of China, CEFC, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, EKF, KfW Ipex-Bank, Mizuho and Westpac.
The Danish export credit agency says it has contributed A$300mn in direct lending and the CEFC says it has provided A$175mn. The Commonwealth Bank declined to provide its contribution, saying the client has not made the figure public.
The first stage of the wind farm, to be built some 110km from Melbourne in the state of Victoria, will have a capacity of 756 megawatts and consist of 122 turbines provided by Vestas, a Danish supplier of wind energy infrastructure.
TagEnergy purchased the first stage of the project from Australian developer WestWind Energy, which has a 30-year deal to manage the project and its next stage.
According to state-owned CEFC, the project — roughly the size of Lisbon — is the first wind farm in Australia to be financed on a fully merchant basis, meaning commercial financiers were willing to step in before the developer has negotiated any offtake commitments from buyers.
“We are particularly pleased to enable these commercial banks to reach financial close on their first fully merchant wind farm,” says the CEFC’s head of wind investment Joe Harber. “By filling this significant financing gap for developers, CEFC capital is supporting the accelerated development of critical clean energy projects essential to our decarbonisation.”
“It’s an ambitious project that we’re really happy to be involved in,” says EKF’s chief commercial officer Peter Boeskov. “It also means that EKF is closing transactions in Australia again after a few years break.”
It is also the first large-scale project for EKF where it is lending on a fully merchant basis, Boeskov says, adding: “This is an important milestone for EKF and has only been made possible through close and creative collaboration with the sponsor, TagEnergy, and the other lenders.”
Once the project reaches its expected completion in 2025, it will abate 770,000 tonnes of CO2 a year on average, according to the CEFC. When all stages of the project are complete, it will cover the electricity needs of some 750,000 households, EKF says.
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