4 firms drafted for Australia’s largest wind farm

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Four of Australia’s largest law firms have snapped up work on the development of what is touted as the country’s largest wind farm.

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM), Allens, Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), and Ashurst were all involved in the 453MW Coopers Gap wind farm project, which recently reached financial close on its integration into the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF).

PARF is jointly owned by AGL Energy (AGL), which has a 20% stake, and the Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC), which has an 80% stake.

The $815m wind farm located about 250km northwest of Brisbane will feature 123 wind turbines, which are expected to produce 1,510GWh a year, or enough clean electricity to power more than 260,000 homes.
KWM advised QIC, which was acting on behalf of clients the Future Fund and QIC-GIF. The Future Fund and QIC-GIF made the investment into PARF through QIC.

Allens acted for AGL Energy, as the developer of the project, and for the PARF investors in relation to the project financing of the clean energy project.

HSF also had more than one role on the deal. HSF advised AGL while also fielding a team for the financiers of the deal, which are ABN AMRO Bank, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, DBS Bank, Mizuho Bank, Societe Generale, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and Westpac Banking Corporation. Macquarie Capital was the financial adviser on the deal.

Ashurst acted for General Electric, which is the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor of the wind farm. This is the iconic company’s first Queensland wind farm. In addition to supplying all the turbines for the project, GE has also inked a 25-year operation and maintenance (O&M) contract for the project.

KWM’s team was led by partners Roderick Smythe and Craig Rogers, who were assisted by partner Shannon Etwell; special counsel Chris Pitson; senior associate Josh Thorneycroft; and solicitors Adam Black, Heather Kirkup, and Jahan Navidi.

Projects partner Kate Axup and finance partner Michael Ryan led the Allens team. They were supported by partners Anna Collyer, Marc Kemp, Bill McCredie, and John Beckinsale; managing associate Lisa Zhou; senior associates Melinda Inserra, Danielle Jones, Juliane Bull, Oliver Hobbs, Kate Kelleher, Fiona Potter, and Emily Johnstone; associates Patrick Boyle, Dana Harel, Kanana Fujimori, and Peter Brennan; lawyer Guru Kugananthan; and law graduates Rujuta Natu, Georgia Dobbyn, and Nastassja Jakeman.

The HSF team that advised AGL on EPC and O&M procurement and grid connection matters was led by partners Kris Percy and Toby Anderson, who were supported by solicitors Richard Burgess and Amelie Fillion. Partner Peter Briggs led on planning advice, partner Luke Simpson led on land matters, and partner William Oxby led on cultural heritage advice.

HSF’s team, which advised the financing syndicate, was led by partners Elizabeth Charlesworth and Gerard Pike. This team also included senior associate Rupert Baker, solicitor Yun Yong, and executive counsel Alison Dodd.

Ashurst’s team was led by corporate partner Gareth Sage, who was assisted by partner Caroline Ammundsen, senior associate Paul Wilson, and lawyer Amaya Fernandez from the firm’s resources and utilities group, and foreign senior associate Tamsyn Zulch from the corporate group.

Allens has been advising AGL and KWM has been acting for QIC since the establishment of PARF. HSF has also been a long-time adviser of AGL on various major projects.


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