SINGAPORE – Australian global financial services firm Macquarie Group is ramping up its renewable energy business, with plans to develop large-scale wind, solar and battery storage projects in Australia and New Zealand, with an initial portfolio capacity of 4 gigawatts (GW).
It launched Aula Energy on Nov 20 to develop the projects with investment partners.
“We have launched the business with seed assets, which we are developing with our partners which we’ve found to be a successful model for Macquarie in a number of markets, including Australia,” said Mr Edward Northam, head of core renewables and head of Asia-Pacific for Macquarie Asset Management Green Investments.
Aula is targeting Australian and international investors, including Asian pension funds and sovereign wealth funds, he added.
The 4GW project pipeline, with a reported total investment cost of A$10 billion (S$8.8 billion), is enough to power about 1.8 million homes.
Aula’s initial projects include construction of the Boulder Creek Wind Farm near Rockhampton, Queensland, which is expected to begin in 2024. Stage 1 is expected to consist of 38 turbines with a generating capacity of 228 megawatts and completion is targeted for 2026.
Aula is also planning a series of large-scale onshore wind farms in Western Australia totalling up to 2.4GW. These projects, to be developed in partnership with West Australian firm Green Wind Renewables, are in the early stages of development, Macquarie said in a statement.
Projects are also planned for New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, with details to be announced in the future.
On a global level, Macquarie has 14GW of renewable energy projects currently operating, 2GW under construction and more than 90 GW in development.
Aula is the latest specialty green energy business created by Macquarie. Others include Blue Leaf Energy, a pan-Asian renewable energy platform, Corio Generation, a global offshore wind portfolio company and Eku Energy, a global battery storage platform.
“In Australia, Macquarie has an extensive track record in developing onshore renewable projects,” Singapore-based Mr Northam told The Straits Times.
“There’s currently about 1GW of renewable energy in operation that we’ve been involved in,” he said. This includes 435MW Murra Warra I and Murra Warra II wind farms and the 150MW Hazelwood big battery in Victoria.
Aula aims to capitalise on the growth of renewable energy in Australia and the company will develop, build, own and operate its projects. “The general direction of travel for these projects over the medium term remains strong,” Mr Northam said.
Investment in large-scale wind, solar and battery storage in Australia has been strong in recent years and the Australian government has set a target of 82 per cent renewable energy by 2030, up from about 35 per cent now.
But much more investment is needed in the power grid to connect all the new green energy and battery storage under construction or planned. The government has pledged A$20 billion to modernise the grid to help Australia cut emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Australia’s industry-backed Clean Energy Council says that there are currently 80 projects that are under construction or due to start construction soon. This is based on projects that have reached financial close and are not yet commissioned.
In total, the wind, solar, hydro and bioenergy projects represent more than A$21.2 billion in capital investment and 12.4GW of new renewable energy capacity, the council says.