Neoen has completed the financial closure of the 460 MWp solar farm, Western Downs Green Power Hub, near Chinchilla in South West Queensland.
Western Downs, owned entirely by Neoen, will be Australia’s largest solar farm, providing renewable energy to the transmission network of Powerlink and bringing major economic benefits to the country.
Five months after Neoen secured a 352 MWp power purchase agreement with CleanCo Queensland, in one of Australia’s most important renewable contracts to date, Western Downs funding was completed.
Over 30 percent of the energy needed for CleanCo to reach its 1 GW goal for new renewable energy generation by 2025 will be contributed by the project. CleanCo focuses on activities that help to achieve the 50 percent renewable energy goal of the sunshine state by 2030 and generate new investment and jobs in regional Queensland.
The overall cost of the project will be approximately A$600 million, with a syndicate of seven lenders supplying debt: Natixis, Société Générale, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, MUFG Bank, NORD / LB, HSBC and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
“The investment is expected to create over 400 construction jobs in the local area and South West Queensland region. Sterling & Wilson were appointed as the project’s Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) contractor in May, design and engineering works began in June, and site mobilisation is expected in Q4 2020. Construction is expected to take over a year, with energy generation scheduled to commence in 2022. The solar farm will generate energy to power 235,000 Queensland homes, or enough to power every home on the Sunshine Coast.”Louis de Sambucy, Neoen Australia’s managing director.
“We are thrilled to be involved in the Western Downs Green Power Hub, which will help drive electricity affordability and create regional growth and jobs for Queenslanders. Generation from projects like the Western Downs Green Power Hub and our portfolio of hydro and gas allows us to supply reliable clean energy products tailored to commercial and industrial customers at competitive prices.”Maia Schweizer, CleanCo Queensland’s CEO.
“We are excited to be extending our Australian footprint into the great sunshine state of Queensland. At 460 MWp it will be the largest solar farm in our global portfolio and will take our total operating capacity in Australia to over 1.5 GW. The financing of Western Downs Green Power Hub in the current environment demonstrates again how our business model of long-term ownership provides confidence to our lenders.”Xavier Barbaro, Neoen’s chairman and CEO.