Construction of a small, two-turbine wind farm near Ararat western Victoria is due to begin soon after Future Energy secured equity and debt financing for the 6.9MW project.
The Maroona wind farm will feature just two Vestas V126 wind turbines, located on two separate properties, generating the equivalent power needs of 4,000 households.
Maroona will be the sixth Future Energy wind farm development to be permitted in Victoria, and the second that Future Energy has developed, financed, and constructed itself.
It obtained equity funding from Germany-based ProVentum International, and from newly established Sydney-based renewable energy investment group Renew Power Group.
Future Energy will retain a small stake via a subsidiary company, debt funding is being supplied by the Commonwealth Bank and Alinta has signed a long-term power purchase agreement for the power and the renewable energy certificates.
The Victorian-based Future Energy was established in 2005 to develop, construct and operate smaller scale wind and solar projects throughout Australia
Its first involvement was with the community-owned Hepburn wind project and its first development of its own was the 6MW Chepstowe project, pictured above, also in Victoria. Like Chepstow, Maroona was to be a three-turbine wind farm but the increased size and output of new turbines meant two turbines were enough.
Future Energy’s David Shapero says more projects are getting closer to financial close, thanks to the fact that energy retailers are finally coming on board with projects.
“There are still only a few private PPAs,” he told RenewEconomy, “and that’s disappointing.” But there was also a lot of international investment interest in Australia.
He said the complete mismatch between market prices (or wholesale electricity and renewable energy certificate prices) , with PPAs being struck at around half that price.
Still, investors are locking in long-term returns and banks are less willing to lend on market price, known in the industry as “going merchant.”
Shapero said Future Energy was looking to bring more projects coming into construction. It has several more wind farm projects in Victoria, and a proposed 10MW solar project near Ouyen, south of Mildura. All will depend on PPAs.
Renew Power Group is a renewable energy investment business that focuses on medium to large-scale wind and solar development opportunities and is currently building a portfolio of projects.
ProVentum International is the operating company of Reiner Zoller, a pioneer developer, investor, owner and operator of wind projects in Germany, Thailand and Australia for more than 20 years.
Zoller was responsible for some of the earliest wind farm developments in Germany, and was the developer of Victoria’s Mount Gellibrand wind farm which is currently under construction near Colac.
Giles Parkinson is a journalist of 30 years experience, a former Business Editor and Deputy Editor of the Financial Review, a columnist for The Bulletin magazine and The Australian, and the former editor of Climate Spectator.