Hong Kong funds rapid development of 1.9GW battery and solar portfolio in Australia – pv magazine International


Renewable energy developer Maoneng has teamed up with Hong Kong-based property fund manager Gaw Capital Partners to accelerate the development of a 1.9GW portfolio of large-scale solar PV battery and utility projects in Australia.

Maoneng, a Sydney-based renewable energy developer, has teamed up with private equity firm Gaw Capital Partners to secure financing and accelerate the development of more than $2 billion ($1.26 billion) in projects large-scale renewable energy generation and storage in Australia.

Gaw Capital Partners confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that it has secured a majority investment in Maoneng’s Australian business through its growth capital arm, Gaw Growth Equity Fund I.

The partnership, Gaw Maoneng Renewables (GMR), will accelerate the development of six battery storage and grid-scale solar power generation projects with a combined total of 1.9 GW. Projects are spread across Victoria, New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia. The new venture is also expected to explore other renewable energy opportunities.

Maoneng co-founder and CEO Morris Zhou, who was named CEO and managing director of GMR, said the transaction would accelerate the development of existing projects.

“We are very pleased to partner with Gaw Capital to grow our renewable energy portfolio, including six battery storage projects,” he said.

“The transition to renewables in Australia is accelerating under this government’s policy, and batteries are a key piece of the puzzle to facilitate greater grid penetration by solar and wind power. The partnership allows us to focus on the job and get it done sooner.

The first of the projects will be the 240 MW/480 MWh Mornington Battery Energy Storage (BESS) system being developed in eastern Victoria. The $190 million project has already received development and connection approvals, and construction is expected to begin by the first quarter of 2023.

The proposed Merriwa Energy Hub is expected to be operational in 2025.

Image: Maoneng

Other projects include the 225MW/450MWh Gould Creek BESS near Adelaide in South Australia, which also received development application approval, and the proposed Merriwa Energy Hub, which includes a farm 550 MW solar and a 400 MW/1,600 MWh battery energy storage system. to build in the NSW Hunter area.

Maoneng also has three other battery storage projects underway in the NSW region, with around 450MW/900MWh of energy storage split between sites in Lismore, Tamworth and the Sunraysia Solar Farm site near Armidale. Maoneng, co-owner of the 200MW Sunraysia solar farm, plans to install a 50MW/100MWh large battery at the Sunraysia site.

Maoneng also retains ownership of the 13 MW Mugga Lane solar farm in the Australian Capital Territory, which was placed in voluntary administration earlier this year. Maoneng said at the time that the situation at Mugga Lane would not affect his development plans.

The estimated capital expenditure for building and constructing the portfolio is over $2 billion and will be secured in the form of equity and debt.

Gaw Capital director Herbin Koh said the fund manager’s institutional investors have shown growing interest in the clean energy and ESG space in Asia and Australia.

“We have been looking for a suitable entry into the clean energy investment space for some time, and utility-scale batteries underpin the grid’s dispatchable energy needs to shift its mix from coal and gas. to the production of renewable energy,” he said.

“We plan to significantly expand this new platform for renewable energy development and investment in the years to come.”

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