Maoneng, Gaw Capital Partner to Develop 1.9 GW of Solar + Storage Projects in Australia

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Maoneng Group, a New South Wales-based renewable energy and battery storage developer, has partnered with Hong Kong private equity real estate investor Gaw Capital to set up a joint venture (JV) to develop 1.9 GW of solar power and battery storage projects in Australia.

The JV, Gaw Maoneng Renewables (GMR), will fast-track the development of six major projects in Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia and mark Gaw Capital’s first-ever investment in clean energy.

The estimated A$2 billion ($1.26 billion) capital expenditure will take the form of equity and debt by Gaw Capital and its existing institutional investors.

The lead project is a 240 MW/480 MWh utility-scale battery energy storage system (BESS) in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula which is set to break ground by the first quarter of 2023. Maoneng received development approval for this BESS project in January.

The standalone BESS facility would draw and store energy from the grid during off-peak periods and dispatch it during peak hours, generating power to meet the power needs of around 40,000 households. The project would support Victoria state government’s objective of improving regional electricity reliability in an area exposed to fluctuations in demand, primarily due to seasonal tourism.

Other projects under the partnership include the Gould Creek BESS in South Australia, three other projects in New South Wales for which applications have been lodged, and the Merriwa Energy Hub, which encompasses battery storage and solar generation in one of the large-scale sites.

The company statements did not include the capacity breakdowns for these projects.

Gaw Capital last year announced the final close of its first commingled growth equity fund, Gaw Growth Equity Fund, bringing the total equity raised to $430 million.

Australia has been moving rapidly towards renewable transition as the energy crisis continues to affect world economies.

The state of Queensland recently announced plans to spend A$62 billion (~$40.11 billion) over the next 15 years to build a robust renewable supply chain. The plan is expected to consist of new foundational pumped hydro energy storage assets, new transmission infrastructure, more renewables in Queensland renewable energy zones, more batteries, and low to zero-emission gas.

Last year, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency announced a $100 million competitive funding round for grid-scale batteries with advanced inverters to support the grid.