TagEnergy Begins Stage 2 of 1.33GW Golden Plains Wind Farm in Australia

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 6/18/2024, Location: Not categorized

Works have commenced on Stage 2 of what is now the Southern Hemisphere’s largest wind farm – Golden Plains Wind Farm in Victoria – after TagEnergy reached financial close on the second stage of its $4 billion AUD mega-project.

The 1,333MW Golden Plains Wind Farm, comprising the 756MW Stage 1 and 577MW Stage 2, will deliver 9% of Victoria’s energy when completed in mid-2027.

With finance and all agreements now in place, construction of Stage 2’s 93 wind turbine generators will begin, with TagEnergy buoyed by the supportive policy environment created by the Australian Government’s Capacity Investment Scheme (CIS).

TagEnergy secured non-recourse finance from a global group of clean energy transition lenders comprising Australia’s green bank, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac, Denmark’s Export & Investment Fund, Japan’s Mizuho Bank, France’s Natixis Bank, the Bank of China and Germany’s Deutsche Bank.

Extending its initial project partnerships into the next phase, TagEnergy has entered into a new Engineering, Procurement and Construction contract with global turbine supplier Vestas, appointed AusNet Services to undertake the grid connection works and WestWind Energy as the asset manager.

Commencement of work on Stage 2 occurs as the civil balance of plant works on Stage 1 nears completion and 25% of Stage 1’s turbines have been erected. With both stages now underway more than 350 people are expected to be working on site.

“We couldn’t be prouder to be delivering the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere,” said TagEnergy’s Managing Partner – Australia Andrew Riggs.

“This mega-project materially improves Victoria’s energy security, puts downward pressure on electricity costs and dramatically reduces carbon pollution. Together with our partners, we are accelerating the energy transition,” Mr Riggs said.

TagEnergy’s decision to commence construction of Stage 2 reflects the new supportive policy landscape enabled by the government’s CIS scheme encouraging investment in renewable energy generation.

“The supportive policy landscape created by the CIS has given us confidence to start construction of Golden Plains Stage 2 now,” he said.

“Commencing construction will maximise project delivery certainty and strengthen the competitiveness of our bid in the upcoming CIS auction. Our Stage 1 construction progress has been excellent and demonstrates our ability to deliver. These site teams, who will also construct Stage 2, really share our vision for a clean energy future,” Mr Riggs said.

TagEnergy praised the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) for the pace of the assessment and approval process for grid connection.

“The diligence and expertise of the grid connection teams at Vestas and AEMO Victoria who leveraged best practices developed during the adjacent 756MW Golden Plains Wind Farm Stage 1 connection process reduced the assessment period from nine months to five months,” Mr Riggs said.

“This significant achievement is a great contribution to the speed and economics of Australia’s energy transition,” he said.

Merryn York, AEMO EGM System Design, said TagEnergy has shown connection-delay risks can be effectively managed through early engagement with AEMO and the connecting transmission network service provider, collaboration with equipment manufacturers and acting swiftly to facilitate resolution of issues as they arise.

Project partners welcomed financial close and fast tracking of construction on the vital project for Australia’s renewable energy future.

Vestas Senior Vice President, Country Head of Australia & New Zealand, Danny Nielsen, said: “Through our best-in-class wind turbines and capabilities, Vestas is delighted to build and service this landmark project – our largest onshore wind farm currently under construction in the world. As the world’s largest provider of wind energy, we have always been committed to Australia’s future and we thank TagEnergy and our subcontractor partners, including MPK and CPP, for joining us in this world-changing mission.”

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth added, “In a further demonstration of the success of our innovative ‘bridge to contract’ finance, CEFC capital will enable construction to begin before Stage 2 secures power purchase agreements, ensuring faster deployment of clean, green power to Victorian consumers. This strategy helped fast track construction of Stage 1, which has subsequently contracted 60 per cent of its energy.”

Golden Plains Wind Farm Stage 1 is expected to start producing green energy in the first quarter of 2025, with Stage 2 to follow in mid-2027.

Once complete, Golden Plains Wind Farm will provide enough clean energy to power more than 750,000 homes – the equivalent of every home in regional Victoria.

TagEnergy and the lenders were advised by the passionate energy transition experts at White & Case, Lazard Australia, Chatham Financial, Aurora, Willis Towers Watson, Aurecon, RINA, ClayMatter, KPMG, KWM, BMS and Kromann Reumert.

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