Octopus Australia, part of the Octopus Group that manages more than 260 renewables assets globally, has announced the acquisition of Dulacca Wind Farm from RES, the world’s largest independent renewable energy company.
Once completed, the wind project – which is located 350 kilometres north-west of Brisbane, within the Western Downs Region – will consist of 43 wind turbines and will generate enough electricity to power approximately 124,000 homes, a statement said.
Darren Brown, Octopus Australia’s Investment Director and lead on Dulacca said: “It is great for Octopus to continue our long-standing European relationship with two strong counterparties in RES and Vestas, who between them bring deep wind farm construction and grid experience in Australia.
“Octopus is also looking forward to forging a new long-term relationship with CleanCo as our PPA partner. There is great alignment among the parties with CleanCo, RES and Vestas also sharing our long-term commitment to the community and helping Australia meet our renewable energy targets.”
Brown explained that as well as co-existing alongside the agricultural use of the land, the project will make an active contribution towards the Queensland Government’s target of 50% renewables by 2030 and will provide much needed generation diversity in this part of the electricity network.
The project reflects a clear commitment to quality site selection, representing a balance between securing a fantastic wind resource while minimising impacts on existing agricultural land use, Aboriginal cultural heritage, and significant environmental features and species, he said.
In addition, a community fund of AUD$1.25 million will provide funding opportunities for local projects, educational and environmental initiatives, community groups and organisations within the communities local to the project, Octopus Australia said.
Sam Reynolds, Octopus Australia’s Managing Director commented: “Significant wind projects like Dulacca are key to helping decarbonise power generation in Australia. They follow our strategy of creating a diversified portfolio across location and technology that matches what the future of Australian energy should look like. In line with our B Corp certification, the community is at heart of everything we do, and we look forward to continuing the excellent work RES has done in the local area.”
RES’ Construction Management team will support the delivery of the project by managing the EPC and grid connection contracts throughout the AEMO registration process, the statement added.
During peak construction, up to 150 workers will be active on the project site, with between 700-800 people expected to directly support the construction of the project over the two-year construction period. The project will additionally create indirect employment opportunities through the supply chain and the provision of local goods and services.
A further five to ten permanent jobs will be created during the 30-year operational life of the wind farm.
RES will continue its involvement in the project through the provision of asset management services alongside Octopus, including finalising key registrations and engaging RES’ 24/7 Global Control Centre for plant monitoring.
Matt Rebbeck, RES’ CEO in Australia said: “This is yet another quality development project from RES and we are grateful for the support of the forward-thinking local council. We are very excited about seeing this project come to life and seeing the creation of opportunities for the local communities, including those through the creation of the community fund.
“We are pleased to be continuing our involvement in this outstanding project and we are looking forward to supporting our partners at Octopus in the construction and operation of the wind farm.”
Debt financing was arranged from a banking consortium including CBA, ING, MUFG, SMBC and Westpac, Octopus Australia said.
The project is the company’s fourth large scale Australian-based renewable asset, with projects in New South Wales, Victoria, and now Queensland after it first entered the market in 2018. Octopus now has a dedicated renewable energy team in Australia, consisting of 25 people who are responsible for managing more than $1 billion, across construction and operational assets in the country, with ambitions to continue its rapid growth.
In addition to Octopus Australia’s acquisition of Dulacca Wind Farm, it has been announced that the publicly owned energy generator, CleanCo Queensland, has signed a power purchase agreement with the project owners.
The offtake agreement will add a further 126MW to the 980MW of renewable energy CleanCo has already committed to bring to market over the next three years.
CleanCo CEO Dr Maia Schweizer said the wind energy generated by the Dulacca Renewable Energy Project would complement CleanCo’s growing portfolio of renewable energy generation.
“CleanCo’s generation portfolio enables us to offer uniquely low-emissions energy to our large commercial and industrial customers. Power Purchase Agreements like this one mean we can offer competitively priced energy contracts supported by renewables and our fleet of low emissions firming generation, guaranteeing supply day and night. The benefits of these agreements are far-reaching – our customers meet their sustainability targets at a competitive cost, helping them to remain relevant in a decarbonising world, and in turn we help Queensland meet our state emissions targets,” Schweizer concluded.