Baar-Zug, Switzerland, 12 December 2016
Partners Group, the global private markets investment manager, has invested AUD 250 million into Sapphire Wind Farm, a 270MW development project located in the state of New South Wales, Australia, on behalf of its clients. Partners Group has contributed the majority of the equity funding for the project, with the remainder provided by CWP Renewables, the project developer.
Sapphire Wind Farm is located near Glen Innes in northern New South Wales and will be comprised of 75 Vestas 3.6MW turbines, providing a total generation capacity of 270MW. The project has already secured a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement for 100MW of its capacity with the AAA rated Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government and is scheduled for completion by July 2018. Once completed, Sapphire will generate enough energy to power 110,000 Australian households and offset over 600,000 tonnes of carbon emissions during every year of operation.
In addition to Partners Group's equity funding, the project has secured an attractive debt package comprised of 17-year debt from EKF, Denmark's export credit agency, 12-year debt from Australia's Clean Energy Finance Corporation and 7-year debt provided by Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.
Benjamin Haan, Managing Director and Head Private Infrastructure Asia-Pacific, Partners Group, states: "To meet the Australian government's Renewable Energy Target, which aims to have 20% of the country's electricity generation derived from renewable sources by 2020, a significant amount of renewable capacity needs to be built out in the next few years. We are very proud to be contributing to this build-out through our investment in Sapphire Wind Farm, which follows the investment we made last year in Ararat Wind Farm in Australia. Together, these two projects will have a combined capacity of over 500MW once completed, making them the second and fourth largest wind farms in Australia respectively."
Brandon Prater, Partner and Co-Head Private Infrastructure, Partners Group, states: "Sapphire Wind Farm is a highly attractive, large-scale renewable energy project in a stable market and regulatory environment. Besides a strong wind resource, the project benefits from a high capacity factor, long-term debt funding, high-quality vendors like Vestas and strong counterparties such as the AAA rated ACT Government. By investing 100% of the third party equity, Partners Group provides certainty to the project. We look forward to working with CWP Renewables to successfully complete Sapphire Wind Farm."
Renewable energy continues to be an attractive sector across Asia-Pacific, as several countries in the region rebalance their energy generation mix away from coal and nuclear. Earlier this year, Partners Group invested over USD 200 million on behalf of its clients as the controlling shareholder in a Taiwanese solar power development platform. The firm is also an experienced investor in wind energy construction projects globally on behalf of its clients. Earlier in 2016, Partners Group closed an investment in Merkur Offshore, a construction-ready 400MW offshore wind farm project located in the German North Sea. In June 2015, Partners Group invested in the construction of Ararat Wind Farm, a 240MW project located near Melbourne, in the Australian state of Victoria. As of December 2016, the project is already energized, with 35 turbines selling power to the grid, and is on track for an on-time completion by May 2017.