Macquarie Group has launched a new Australian-based onshore renewables business, with an initial project pipeline of 4 gigawatts of wind, solar and storage projects, and plans to build much more.
The new platform, known as Aula Energy, was announced on Monday by Macquarie Asset Management’s Green Investments team, and follows the separate launch of the offshore wind specialist Corio and the battery-focused Eku Energy, which recently commissioned the Hazelwood big battery in Victoria (pictured above).
Aula Energy says it plans to develop, build and operate utility-scale wind, solar and integrated battery projects across the Australian and New Zealand markets, and has an initial portfolio of 4 GW.
These include the 372 MW Boulder Creek wind project near Rockhampton in Queensland, the first 228 MW stage of which is expected to begin construction next year, and up to 2.4 GW of yet unidentified onshore wind in Western Australia, where it is teaming up with Green Wind Renewables.
It also says its expected portfolio will include developments in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, “the details of which will be announced as they progress.”
Aula Energy – the name derives from a Latin word that vaguely means courtyard, or meeting place – will be led by former AusNet development manager Chad Hymas, who the company says brings 20 years of experience in the energy industry across strategy, growth, regulation, operations, and finance.
The team includes Andrew Hyland, formerly of Engie, ex Windlab, Squadron and Transgrid executive Evonne Bennet and Tim Michalas, formerly of CWPm, which was bought by Andrew Forrest’s Squadron.
“A powerful collaboration with partners will deliver on Aula Energy’s vision to be a leading green independent power producer in Australia and New Zealand that is trusted and committed to providing sustainable energy, energy for the future,” Hymas said in a statement.
“Key to Aula Energy’s approach will be the long-term sustainable development of these assets. We believe it’s through partnerships that we can have the most impact. That’s why we will prioritise long-term relationships and meaningful collaboration in developing our projects,” he said.
Lachlan Creswell, the head of Macquarie’s Green Investments team in Australia, says the launch of Alua will diverse and expand the group’s onshore portfolio, and tap into growing demand for renewables from commercial and industrial off-takers.
“The energy transition in Australia requires an acceleration in the deployment of new renewable generation,” Creswell said in a statement.
“The Aula Energy team’s experience, and long-term partnership approach to the creation and management of renewable energy projects will be underpinned by access to long-term capital,” he said.
The move by Macquarie follows similar investments from other global funds managers, including Brookfield, which is promising to spend up to $30 billion in new wind, solar and battery capacity over the next decade if its bid for Origin succeeds, and BlackRock, which is investing in battery developer Akaysha Energy among others.
The company says Aula Energy will “develop, build, own, operate” projects, “while continually sourcing a pipeline of new projects and innovating as customer requirements, technologies, markets, and policies evolve.”