Indigenous groups win solar bid

Renewable energy company Carnegie Clean Energy Limited announced this week that Western Australia’s first merchant utility solar project – a $17m 10MW solar farm at Northam – is underway following the selection of co-equity investors Indigenous Business Australia and Perth Noongar Foundation from a competitive investment process.

Federal government agency IBA and PNF have signed an agreement with Carnegie for a collective 50 percent ownership of the Northam Solar Project alongside Carnegie’s 50 percent ownership.

In an announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Carnegie said IBA and PNF were now engaged in an exclusivity period to complete the detailed transaction documentation, which will be finalised in the coming weeks.

On execution of the detailed documentation, all funding requirements for the Northam Solar Project will be complete.

Carnegie’s managing director Dr Michael Ottaviano said it would be Carnegie’s second solar project.

“We’re delighted to be working alongside Indigenous Business Australia and the Perth Noongar Foundation as their first investment in renewable energy in WA,” he said.

“The Northam Solar Project is a great step forward in Carnegie’s strategy of developing a mixture of customer-owned projects that generate an immediate return at the completion of construction and self-owned projects that generate an annuity return over the life of the project.”

Indigenous Business Australia’s chief executive officer Rajiv Viswanathan said his organization was excited to be a part of the groundbreaking initiative.

“This project is an example of the private and public sectors partnering with Indigenous investors to promote impact investment,” he said.

Perth Noongar Foundation chairman Cedric Jacobs said the project was a good fit with the Noongar way.

“Our forefathers, ancestors and elders have all had a cultural responsibility to protect and nurture Mother Earth for the current and future generations,” he said.

“The Perth Noongar Foundation is proud to have the opportunity to partner with this project as it offers our people and the greater community access to a renewable clean energy which is sustainable and aligns with our cultural values and responsibilities.

“Spiritually, I am pleased to see this project take place in Northam, the land of my childhood.”

Carnegie, IBA and PNF will work with Energy Made Clean and Lendlease to drive Noongar and Aboriginal employment and procurement outcomes in the construction and operation of the Northam Solar Project.

The Northam Solar Project has a capital cost of about $17m, including Carnegie’s development fee paid upon completion of the detailed documentation in the coming weeks. Construction will then begin.

It is expected to be completed in the second half of 2018 and begin selling power into the WA grid.

Wendy Caccetta

reporter@nit.com.au

 

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