Santander acquires first Australian wind farm

The Spanish bank has bought 90% of the A$250m Taralga Wind Farm from RES for an undisclosed sum. Australian renewables group CBD Energy owns a 10% share in the project.

Spain’s Banco Santander has bought a 90 percent stake in the Taralga wind farm project in New South Wales, Australia. CBD Energy is the project partner, with the remaining 10 percent stake.

The wind farm is currently under development and is expected to cost about A$250 million (€197 million; $256 million).

Approval has been granted for the installation of 51 wind turbines, which will provide a total installed capacity of 108 megawatts. When completed in 2014, Taralga is expected to generate more than 300 gigawatt-hours of electricity every year.

Melbourne-based electricity company TRUenergy has agreed to buy all the power produced by the facility. This will net the project some $300 million, according to CBD. The latter will be involved in project management during construction and asset management during the wind farm’s operational life.

In a statement, David Swindin, Santander head of credit markets Asia-Pacific, said the wind farm is “one of the few shovel-ready projects in Australia with an off-take agreement. Since 2005, Santander has actively developed projects, provided advice, raised third-party funds (equity and debt) and invested proprietary equity in renewable energy transactions accounting for more than 900 megawatts”.

The project has been developed so far by Renewable Energy Systems (RES) Australia, a renewables company.

In September 2011, RES agreed to the sale of the wind farm to a joint venture between CBD Energy, China Datang Corporation Renewable Power and Baoding Tianwei Baobian Electric.

The deal was never concluded, though, and CBD announced an exit from the Australian-Chinese joint venture saying the company “can be more flexible and in better control of its own ambitions in the wind sector while still serving the remaining AusChina partners under a different business model.”