Australian geothermal energy aspirant Hot Rock says it has signed a funding agreement of up to $200 million with Energy Development Corporation to develop four projects of around 50MW each in Chile and Peru. The deal will give Philippines based EDC, the largest pure play geothermal company in the world, a 70 per cent stake in the joint venture, with the remainder going to Hot Rock, who will also get result in a $US2.5 million cash payment, and a further $1.5 million subject to certain conditions.
EDC will be sole funder for the first $US48 million of the projects’ development, with subsequent funding to be provided on a pro-rate basis, although Hot Rock will be able to access loans from its bigger partner. Hot Rock executive chairman Dr Mark Elliott said the deal was a huge endorsement to the quality and “blue-sky potential” of the projects. “We could not have hoped for a better partner than EDC, given their vast expertise, experience and track record of success in developing geothermal projects from exploration through to commercialisation and operation.
Elliott said it will allow the company to advance other projects in Chile, at least to the point of resource definition. He also noted that the deal was particularly significant given the funding difficulties for geothermal developers in Australia, where all but two companies have been hamstrung by a lack of finance. “This is another huge step forward in the growth opportunities and realising HRL’s ambition of becoming a major geothermal power generator.”
A moment in the sun for Australian cleantech stocks
Australian cleantech stocks enjoyed another strong trading month in January, extending their outperformance of the broader index to the last three months. The ACT Australian CleanTech index of 77 local stocks recorded a gain of 10.1 per cent in January, double the rise of the overall S&P/ASX200, to take its three month performance to 5.5 per cent, compared to a 1.9 per cent loss for the broader index.
The recent gains were underpinned by strong performanes by companies such as EnviroMission, CBD Energy, Australian Renewable Fuels, Phoslock Water Solutions, Water Resources Group, Papyrus Australia, Traffic Technologies, Galaxy Resources, Orocobre and Carbon Conscious, as well as Simsmetal. These were offset by falls in Solco, Sterling Biofuels, Intec, Petratherm, Green Rock, and Wasabi Enerny.
Still, the outperformance of the last three months has been a rarity for the index, which is now valued at $8.1 billion, half of its peak of July, 2007, but above the $6.4 billion of its low point in September last year. Over the last three years, the index has lost 30.3 per cent, while the broader benchmark has gained 21.2 per cent.