NRF, HSF assist UK renewable energy company on Queensland wind farm project

The project is set to benefit the local communities in Dulacca and Drillham

NRF, HSF assist UK renewable energy company on Queensland wind farm project

Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) and Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) have advised UK renewable energy company RES on the various aspects of the 180MW Dulacca Wind Farm in Queensland.

According to HSF, the farm will produce renewable power through 43 Vestas wind turbines, and is backed by a long-term offtake agreement with state-owned energy generator CleanCo.

During the construction phase, the project is expected to generate 150-200 jobs in the area. Moreover, the local communities in Dulacca and Drillham will be the beneficiaries of a fund that will be earmarked for local projects, community groups and organisations, NRF said.

“This is yet another quality development project from RES and we are grateful for the support of the forward-thinking local council. We are very excited about seeing this project come to life and seeing the creation of opportunities for the local communities, including those through the creation of the community fund,” RES Australia CEO Matt Rebbeck said. “This is another project that the RES team has developed from start to finish and we are excited to be continuing our involvement through both the construction management and then the ongoing asset management once it is operational.”

NRF’s team guided RES in the preparation and negotiation of agreements to bring in Vestas – Australian Wind Technology Pty Ltd as the project’s EPC and long-term operation and maintenance contractor. Lead partner Steven Choi has working on the Dulacca Wind Farm project since its early development stages in 2019.

“We are pleased to have closed another renewable energy project with the RES team. We worked closely together to find the right solutions and risk allocations to deal with all the challenges currently facing wind farm projects in Australia, especially around grid connection risk and potential delays to procurement and the works caused by COVID-19 impacts. The completion of this project marks the next step in Australia’s energy transition,” Choi said.

He received support from senior associate Paul Hedderwick and associates Soorim Cha and Josh Hayes, as well as NRF’s Australia projects and construction head Jo Crew and partner Emanuel Confos.

On the other end of the deal, NRF partner Luke van Grieken led a team that advised Vestas in the preparation and negotiation of key subcontracts related to the Dulacca Wind Farm project.

“This included the electrical balance of plant subcontract RJE Global Pty Ltd and the civil balance of plant subcontract with MPC Group Pty Ltd,” NRF said.

Senior associate Andrew North and associate Lachlan Wood supported van Grieken. The project reached financial close on 27 August, and was acquired by renewables investment firm Octopus Australia.

HSF’s team assisted RES Australia on various aspects of the Dulacca Wind Farm project, including its development, offtake, project financing and sale. The firm confirmed that the construction and asset management team at RES Australia will continue to support the project’s delivery.

The construction and term project financing debt facilities were committed by Commonwealth Bank of Australia, ING Bank (Australia) Limited, MUFG Bank, Ltd, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Westpac Banking Corporation.

“Credit to RES, Octopus, the Banks, Vestas, Ergon Energy and CleanCo in bringing this project to financial close and into construction under extremely challenging lockdown conditions in the southern states,” HSF co-lead partner Gerard Pike said.

Project finance partner Pike headed HSF’s cross-practice team alongside fellow partners David Ryan (M&A), Elizabeth Charlesworth (project finance), Luke Simpson (property), Peter Davis (offtake) and Toby Anderson (construction and asset management). They received support from senior associates Arnica Mullins and Josh Singer, as well as solicitors Jacqui Fetchet, Michael Bidwell, Hiroko Ito, Josephine MacMillan, Aditya Shivam and Stephanie Simm.

“It has been a pleasure to advise RES Australia on Dulacca. This is an excellent Queensland wind project which is the next big step in a growing renewables generation fleet in the Queensland market,” Simpson said.

RES is the largest independent renewable energy company in the world. It is headquartered in the UK, but has also opened offices in Sydney and Melbourne.

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