The influx of multinational’s into the Australian renewable energy industry is increasing with historic oil and gas producers such as Shell, BP and Total entering the market.
These global energy giants are making large acquisitions to expand their local presence in the clean energy sector. In a world where developers are struggling to bank projects the strong balance sheets of these companies is a welcome addition to the industry.
Engie is the most recent multinational company to expand in Australia with the purchase of development rights to the $750 million Hills of Gold wind project in northern New South Wales.
This project is the foundation development in the newly created Renewable Energy Zones (REZ) in New South Wales’s New England region. This REZ is the first REZ to be created under Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) vision.
The acquisition of the Hills of Gold Wind Farm will add 420MW into the region. The project was previously developed by Wind Energy Partners.
Engie is one of the world’s largest electricity utilities, with the French multinational operating more than 115GW of generation capacity globally, including a 19GW portfolio of renewable energy projects.
The project will consist of 70 6MW wind turbines and will be connected to the transmission network between Liddell and Tamworth.
Engie has previously owned power assets in Australia, being the operator of the brown-coal Hazelwood power station in Victoria that was closed in 2017. They have ambitious targets for Australia, hoping to develop 2,000MW of Solar and wind projects.
Engie has recently set up the Australian Renewable Energy Trust with Infrastructure Capital Group and Mitsui as a renewable investment vehicle. The trust contains Engie’s 119MW Willogoleche wind farm and it is likely the Hills of Gold project will be added to it.