UK investment group United Green has made its first play in the Australian clean energy market by taking a 50 per cent stake in the $350 million Rodds Bay Solar Farm.
United Green has purchased a 50 per cent stake from the current owners of the 300MW solar farm, Renew Estate, with the Queensland government viewing the transaction as a strong vote of confidence in the state’s growing large-scale solar industry.
The equity investment from United Green is a vote of confidence in Queensland’s renewables sector and Queensland’s economic recovery as we Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs,” Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a statement.
“While there are still some steps for this project to follow, this major investment will mean hundreds of new jobs in the Gladstone region when the project is due to start later this year.”
The Rodds Bay solar farm is set to produce enough power to meet the demand of around 88,000 homes, and construction is expected to commence before the end of 2020.
The project will be combined with a big battery system, with a 82MW/164MWh battery to provide up to two hours of back-up storage capacity.
“Their investment could translate into more than 300 jobs during construction and further employment during the operational phase, so this latest step is very good news for the people of Gladstone and surrounding areas,” Queensland regional development minister Glenn Butcher added.
The UK-based United Green currently manages an investment portfolio across a range of sectors, including renewable energy, food and technology investments, and includes a number of utility scale generation projects across Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
The 300MW Rodd Bay Solar Farm is being developed 50 kilometres south of the Queensland export hub of Gladstone, with Renew Estate set to retain its remaining 50 per cent ownership share in the project.
“Rodds Bay will be one of the first renewable energy projects located close to Gladstone and it will play a pivotal role in the region’s further diversification,” chief adviser for Renew Estate joint venture partner Energy Estate Simon Corbell said.
“We believe that the renewable energy industry needs to work with all stakeholders to create enduring jobs that build on the skills and experience of the local workforce.”