WA Northam Solar Project underway

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Carnegie Clean Energy’s 10MW Northam Solar Farm in Western Australia is underway with the selection of co equity investors Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) and Perth Noongar Foundation (PNF).

IBA and PNF have signed a binding term‐sheet with Carnegie for a collective 50 per cent ownership of the Northam Solar Project alongside Carnegie’s 50 per cent ownership.

IBA and PNF are now engaged in an exclusivity period to complete the detailed transaction documentation which will be finalised in the coming weeks. Upon execution of  the detailed documentation, all funding requirements for the Northam Solar Project will be complete.  
Additionally, Carnegie has made significant progress on a range of associated activities including:   

  • Confirmation of a binding grid connection offer and signing of the Electricity Transfer Access Contract (ETAC) and Interconnection Works Contract (IWC) with Western Power, facilitating the commencement of on site connection works in December 2017
  • Formal award of Reserve Capacity Accreditation (RCC) from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) confirming the eligibility for capacity credit payments
  • Signing of a 25‐year land lease agreement at site with a local Northam landowner
  • Secured a 12‐month construction debt finance facility for $7.5 million provided by the Perth-based private investment group Asymmetric Credit Partners
  • Finalisation and approval of the Development Application by the Mid‐West / Wheatbelt Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP)  

Carnegie’s Managing Director, Dr Michael Ottaviano, said this will be Carnegie’s  second solar  project that  it owns and operates and is delighted to be working alongside Indigenous Business Australia and the Perth Noongar Foundation as its first  investment in renewable energy in WA.

“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,” Mr Ottaviano said.

Indigenous Business Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Rajiv Viswanathan, said this project is an example of the private and public sectors partnering with Indigenous investors  to promote impact investment.

“IBA is actively considering other impact investment opportunities, as announced in its recent launch of its Indigenous Investment Partnerships initiative,” Mr Viswanathan said.

Perth Noongar Foundation’s Chairman, Cedric Jacobs, said, “Our forefathers, ancestors and elders have all had a cultural responsibility to protect and nurture mother earth for the current and future generations.

“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 has developed the Northam Solar Farm as a template for future projects where the company ca  receive value from multiple revenue streams including electricity sales,  renewable energy certificate sales and reserve capacity credit payments relating to its 50 per cent ownership of the project, a project development fee at financial close, and a share of the EPC and operations and maintenance margins.  

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 approximately $17 million including Carnegie’s development fee paid upon completion of the detailed documentation in the coming weeks at which time it will begin construction. It is expected to be complete in the second half of 2018 and when it will begin selling power into the Western Australian grid.

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