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ACT drives demand for turbines

The 100 MW Hornsdale Wind Farm, owned by French Renewable Energy Producer NEOEN, and leading international infrastructure investor John Laing, has secured a long-term debt financing package, and signed contracts with Siemens for the supply of turbines and construction and long-term operations and maintenance of the project.

The project is underpinned by a 20-year contract to sell power to the ACT. Leading French renewable energy firm Neoen, leading international infrastructure investor John Laing, and local partner Megawatt Capital Investments, have obtained all final approvals and reached financial close for the 100MW first stage of the Hornsdale Wind Farm project.

Construction will begin immediately at Hornsdale, near the South Australian town of Jamestown, 200km north of Adelaide, with Siemens to supply and erect 32 wind turbines and complete associated project works.

Siemens will also maintain the wind farm under a long-term maintenance contract that was executed together with the Construction contract at a recent Signing Ceremony in Canberra convened in the presence of ACT Deputy Chief Minister Simon Corbell.

The project is underpinned by a 20-year contract to supply green energy to the ACT at a fixed price of 9.2c per kWh. The contract will see the project provide some 20% of the power needs of the ACT and move the Territory closer to realising its target of having 90% of its electricity supplied by renewable sources by 2020. The project and its stakeholders will join with the Canberra Institute of Technology to establish the CIT Renewable Energy Skills Centre of Excellence which will entrench the ACT as the centre for wind energy trade skills for Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

The Centre of Excellence will take an important place in the growing ACT renewable energy industry cluster and reinforce Canberra’s position as the Renewable Energy Capital of Australia.

The Hornsdale Wind Farm project will create new job opportunities in the ACT beyond the Centre of Excellence, with Neoen expanding its presence in Canberra.

In addition, the project will generate more than 250 jobs during construction and up to 10 positions through its operational life in South Australia.

The South Australian Government has provided consistent encouragement and assistance to the project since its inception in 2010, while strong local support has also been forthcoming from the Northern Areas Council and the local Community in Jamestown and its environs. Neoen has secured an unprecedented long-term debt facility in Australian renewable energy financings, from KFW IPEX-Bank GmbH and Societe Generale, which provides long-term certainty for the project, aligning the interests of the owners, the ACT Government, and Siemens.

Neoen’s develop-and-hold approach is enhanced by such financing and benefits from the stability and continuity created by the debt tenor and amortization profile, in line with the asset life.

Franck Woitiez, Managing Director of Neoen Australia, commented that: “In Australia since 2012, Neoen has developed more than 1.5GW of Renewable Energy projects.

The Hornsdale Wind Farm is our second project starting construction this year, and the quality of the relationship with all the Stakeholders, added to the exceptional wind resource at Hornsdale have turned it into a winning project under the ACT Wind Auction and a great business opportunity. Neoen is now ready to build the next 170MW of Hornsdale Wind Farm.”

Mark Schneider of Megawatt Capital Investments, congratulated the ACT Government on its far-sighted renewable energy policy. He said that: “Through their innovation, the ACT have assumed the mantle of renewable energy leadership for the nation, demonstrating that sustainable, renewable energy can be sourced in grid scale quantity at a cost-competitive price. With the Federal Renewable Energy Target now secure till 2030, the opportunity exists for other governments and large power purchasers to follow the ACT’s example. The renewable energy industry is ready to deliver.”

Justin Bailey, John Laing Head of Primary Investments - Asia Pacific, said: “Renewable energy remains an important growth sector for John Laing globally and we are very proud to be partnering with Neoen to provide renewable energy to the ACT Government. The Hornsdale Wind Farm represents our first renewables investment in Australia and is another example of John Laing’s increasing commitment and standing in the Asia Pacific market. Along with its portfolio of wind, solar and biomass renewables projects in the UK and Europe, this demonstrates our strong expertise in the renewables sector across our geographies.

Siemens Australia Head of Energy David Pryke said the project demonstrated a win-win for all stakeholders: “The new Hornsdale wind farm is good for the economy, good for the environment and, importantly, good for both the ACT and the local community. I’m delighted that Neoen entrusted Siemens to build and maintain the Hornsdale wind farm, and through this project we will demonstrate what can be achieved when combining Siemens’ global technology with the ACT’s commitment, Australia’s natural resources and Neoen’s vision.”

Source: Neoen Press Release 19 August 2015

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