The deal will see AC Energy, a subsidiary of multinational group Ayala Corporation, one of the Philippines’ largest listed companies, emerge with a 50 per cent share of UPC’s Australian business with an investment of $US30 million ($A40 million)
But the key to future projects is the provision by AC Energy of a $US200 million ($A264 million) facility to fund project equity, which will help it advance plans for 1,000MW of wind in Tasmania, and more than 600MW of solar in NSW.
The 600MW plus New England solar project, between Armidale and Uralla in the New England renewable energy hub, is likely to be the first to proceed, with an investment decision likely in the first quarter of next year.
There are also plans for a huge wind farm complex at Robbins Island and Jim’s Plains in north-western Tasmania, which will likely start at 450MW but could be expanded to 1,000MW if a second link across the Bass Strait is built.
The $US200 million in project equity overcomes a major first hurdle in landing funding for such projects, which are likely to rely on a combination of market pricing and contracting, and little or nothing in the form of subsidies.
The Tasmania wind farms are expected to have capacity factors of around 50 per cent, thanks to its excellent wind resource, which is made more valuable because it will have little correlation with wind in Victoria.
UPC Renewables Australia CEO Anton Rohner says the combination of these and other new wind projects and Tasmania hydro could provide low cost dispatchable renewable energy to the mainland.
Tasmania is keen to develop a second interconnector, promoting its state and its clean energy resources as the “battery of the nation”.
“We are making progress on the Robbins Island and Jim’s Plainproject in north west Tasmania.
“We expect our projects in north west Tasmania to have capacity factors in the order of 50per centwith the turbines producing power nearly 95per centof the time.”
AC Energy CEO and president Eric Francia says the deal gives it access to a pipeline of more than 4.5GW
UPC Renewables Australia has a further development portfolio of another 3,000MWs located in NSW, Tasmania and Victoria.
“AC Energy is very excited to invest into UPC Renewables Australia as it complements AC Energy’s goal to exceed 5,000MW by 2025. The UPC Renewables Australia platform is focused on large scale projects and is managed by an experienced high-quality team,” said AC Energy President and CEO Eric Francia.