Firms advise on major wind farm project

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Baker & McKenzie and Herbert Smith Freehills have advised French renewable energy producer NEOEN on the debt financing of Hornsdale wind farm in South Australia.

Once fully operational, the farm will provide 20 per cent of the power needs of the ACT, moving it a step closer to its 90 per cent target by 2020.
The deal marks one of the first large wind projects tod benefit from long term debt financing advised by Baker & McKenzie, with a senior debt facility from Germany’s FW Ipex-Band and France’s Societe Generale and a small junior debt from Investec.

“The financing of this project marks the start of what we expect to be an increasingly busy renewables market,” said Baker & McKenzie lead partner, Paul Curnow.

“It highlights how projects like the ACT large-scale wind auction are going to have a real impact on the way in which wind and solar projects are financed.  The fact that the project has a long-term 20 year offtake with the ACT Government was key to securing the longer term debt.”

Herbert Smith Freehills has advised on all aspects of the project, including land access arrangements, project planning and construction.  The firm advised international infrastructure investor John Laing and Megawatt Capital investments on the long-term debt financing of the project worth $195m. 

“This is truly ground-breaking transaction for a number of reasons. Being the first windfarm in Australia for Neoen and the lender group, it’s great to see new international investors entering the renewables market in Australia at this time,” said Andrew Clark, head of projects Australia and Asia for Herbert Smith Freehills and joint partner on the deal.

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