The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Ironstone have joined forces to create an integrated clean energy development and fund management company, Warada Capital.

It will focus on investments in early stage greenfield projects across a range of renewable energy and energy efficiency opportunities, recognising such projects can struggle to raise essential early-stage risk capital.

Warada will also invest in operating brownfield assets where there is a capacity to improve returns and sustainability through technology enhancements.

Warada CEO, Alistair Craib, said, “We see investment potential across early-stage solar and wind projects, energy storage, electricity network enhancements and the use of distributed energy technologies across the built environment.

“We’re also targeting clean energy related investments in the natural resources, transport and agriculture sectors which involve sustainability, energy efficiency, renewable energy and low carbon opportunities.

“Through Warada, we will provide end-to-end project development and investment management services to achieve robust sustainability outcomes while maximising returns for our clients.”

Warada is an indigenous word for Waratah, an iconic Australian flower known for its adaptability. 

The CEFC, which is acquiring a 50 per cent equity stake in Warada, is committing up to $100 million for potential investment in projects identified by the new entity. Ironstone is a leading adviser in the renewable energy sector.

CEFC CEO, Ian Learmonth, said,  “By investing development equity through Warada, we can become more closely involved in project conceptualisation, design and implementation, while ensuring a pathway for potential further investment in projects at financial close.

“This also provides us with the opportunity to further develop the Australian domestic capabilities in the local renewable energy sector, which is currently dominated by offshore participants. This is pivotal to our policy objective of supporting the orderly transition of the Australian economy to a decarbonised future.”

Ironstone Director, Michael Siede, said, “Warada is an excellent example of how Ironstone develops innovative solutions to serve and support our clients. We are wholly committed to assisting our clients meet their investment objectives across the full breadth of our financial services capabilities.”

Ironstone Director, Aaron Simcock, said, “Ironstone is excited to be developing this initiative with the CEFC. We have developed a market position as one of Australia’s leading financial advisors in the renewable energy sector and this initiative further highlights our commitment to the sector.”

The CEFC has developed a $1.2 billion equity portfolio since it began investing, working alongside eleven key fund managers.

CEFC Equity lead, Rory Lonergan, said, “This investment approach is key to developing institutionally-focussed clean energy investment opportunities across broad areas of economic activity, beyond the important area of renewable energy.

“Our investment in Warada will give the investment community access to a strong pipeline of clean energy investment opportunities, particularly those with an appropriate balance between investment returns, innovation and decarbonisation. As an experienced equity investor, we can also help project proponents overcome early-stage capital constraints and positively shape emissions outcomes.”

As Warada CEO, Mr Craib brings deep experience and a long history of working in the renewable energy sector in Australia and internationally. Mr Craib has led numerous transactions in the renewable energy sector, including the contractual negotiations to finalise the development of the 206MW Collgar Wind Farm in Western Australia. 

Mr Craib was CEO of the company during construction and its first two years of operations, successfully leading the company to complete construction ahead of schedule and significantly ahead of budget.

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