ACEN Australia receives AU$75 million investment from CEFC for 8GW renewables portfolio

The investment made by the Australian government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation is part of an AU$600 million debt raise for ACEN Australia. Image: CEFC.

Renewables developer ACEN Australia has secured an AU$75 million (US$47.8 million) investment to accelerate the delivery of an 8GW clean energy portfolio in Australia.

The investment, made by the Australian government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), is part of an AU$600 million debt raise for ACEN Australia, which is the listed energy platform of Philippines-owned conglomerate Ayala, and follows a A$140 million green loan investment from Japanese lender MUFG and a AU$100 million facility agreement with DBS Bank.

The 8GW pipeline, consisting of solar, wind, battery and pumped hydro, adds to the 1.5GW of projects that ACEN Australia has under construction, and the 18GW of development assets that ACEN holds throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Of the 4GW of energy generation capacity the company currently operates, 87% is renewable.

“Australia needs significant investment to create a 21st-century energy mix that decarbonises the grid while delivering a reliable and secure energy supply,” said Ian Learmonth, CEO of CEFC. “With this investment, the CEFC is helping deliver the assets that are critical to reaching net zero emissions by 2050.”

In August, the newly elected Labor government in Australia legislated to lock in the country’s commitment to net zero by 2050. Of this, a crucial part ordered that government organisations including the CEFC make this commitment a part of their mandates, making it harder for future governments to undo the measures.

Learmonth added that the CEFC is confirming its commitment to “leading developers” in the sector.

Aiming to deliver 20GW of renewables capacity by 2030, ACEN has other projects underway in Australia, mostly notably the 720MW New England Solar Farm, currently the largest solar project in the country, which came under its control after it acquired UPC/AC Renewables, which then became ACEN Australia.

CEO of ACEN Australia, Anton Rohner, said the CEFC debt raise will “allow ACEN Australia to expedite our fully developed 400MW Stubbo Solar project”, also located in the New England region and expected to be under construction in January 2023.

The hardening of Australian governmental resolve towards net zero, through CEFC confidence in players like ACEN and the recent federal budget containing AU$25 billion (US$16.02 billion) in clean energy investments, does speak to a collaborative and productive future for the country’s decarbonisation and its renewables market.

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