New Zealand gen-tailer Meridian Energy has become the latest global energy company to “review” its position in the Australian market, considering – among other options – partial or full divestment of its local renewables projects and popular retailing business.
The Wellington-based company said on Tuesday that it was reviewing its ownership of Meridian Energy Australia (MEA), which includes 294MW of renewable generation capacity, a 150MW renewable development pipeline, and energy retailer Powershop Australia.
The brief investor announcement, signed off by Meridian CEO Neal Barlcay, said the company was considering all options, “including partial or full divestment of MEA,” and was being advised in the process of the review by Lazard.
“The ownership review is expected to take a number of months and no decision will be made on the future direction or options for MEA until the completion of that process,” the announcement said.
Meridian Energy is New Zealand’s largest electricity generator, majority-owned by the NZ government and dual-listed on both the ASX and NZX. Specialising in hydro power and wind farms, all of its energy is generated through renewable energy sources, including 90% via hydro.
In Australia, Meridian launched online retail upstart Powershop in early 2015 and it now boasts 140,000 electricity customers. It also owns and operates two wind farms; the 131MW Mt Mercer wind farm near Ballarat in Victoria and the 70MW Mt Millar wind farm on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.
In the pipeline, the company has proposed to build the 130MW Rangoon wind farm and battery in the Glen Innes region of NSW and is in the planning phase to install a 20MW battery alongside the existing Hume hydro power station (HPS) near Albury-Wodonga.
The company’s website also says that it is investigating solar development opportunities in Australia.
If Meridian does decide to divest, it will become just the latest major international investor to pull up stumps in Australia, including Singapore-based Nexif Energy, which just this week put numerous renewable energy assets on the sales block, including its partially complete Lincoln Gap wind farm, the largest in South Australia.
On Monday, New Energy Solar announced buyers for its two NSW solar farms, and FRV is also reported to be seeking an equity partner for its portfolio of eight solar farms.
UK steel billionaire Sanjeev Gupta is looking to sell his Cultana solar project and the Playford Big Battery project, and US investors Blackrock is also looking to sell its solar assets.
Elsewhere, Iberdrola has taken over Infigen Energy and Powering Australia Renewables is to take over the Australian assets of Tilt Renewables. Last year, Windlab was taken private by the Andrew Forrest controlled Squadron Energy.