Ayala, partner secure funding for solar farm in Australia
The Ayala group’s joint venture firm with Hong Kong-based UPC Renewables has clinched a funding for the 400-megawatt initial stage of a planned 720-MW solar project in New South Wales, Australia.
According to Ayala Corp., Westpac, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and Bank of China are providing financing for the initial stage of UPCAC Renewables Australia’s New England Solar Farm near the town of Uralla.
UPCAC Renewables Australia is a 50-50 joint venture between Ayala’s AC Energy & Infrastructure Corp. (ACEIC) and UPC Renewables.
The project is expected to produce enough electricity to cover the needs of about 250,000 typical households yearly and to replace supply coming from the coal-fired Liddell Power Station, which is expected to permanently shut down in 2022.
The New England project is a combination of a 720-MW solar farm and a 400-megawatt-hour battery. It would cost 619 million Australian dollars, or about US$481 million, for which Ayala committed an equity of US$320 million.
The battery system is intended to lower electricity prices by helping shore up grid stability and ensure capability to deliver energy at peak hours of power consumption.
The 400-MW initial stage, including the 50-mwh battery, is expected to go online by July 2022 and the remainder of the project is slated for operation by the end of 2023.
New England is expected to be a major boost in the Ayala group’s goal of having the largest listed renewables platform among Southeast Asian nations. The group is planning a portfolio of 5,000 MW of renewables capacity racked up by 2025.
This is being pursued through ACEIC subsidiary AC Energy Corp., which is readying to absorb parent Ayala’s overseas power generation assets and combine them with all other power assets in the Philippines.
“The New England Solar Farm is a major milestone for AC Energy as our first project in Australia,” AC Energy International chief operating officer Patrice Clausse said in a statement.
Brian Caffyn, executive chair of UPC Renewables, said New England was the first project within their large portfolio to reach financial close.
Aside from the New England project, UPCAC Renewables Australia is also developing the Robbins Island Renewable Energy Park and Jim’s Plain Renewable Energy Park in Tasmania, and Baroota Pumped Hydro in South Australia.
They are also developing the Axedale Solar Farm with Battery System in Victoria and the Stubbo Solar Farm with Battery System in New South Wales. INQ
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