Meridian Energy to sell Aussie renewables biz to Shell, ICG

Mt Mercer wind farm at dusk. Source: Meridian Energy.

November 22 (Renewables Now) - Royal Dutch Shell Plc (AMS:RDSA; LON:RDSA) has teamed up with Australian infrastructure investor Infrastructure Capital Group, or ICG, to purchase Meridian Energy Ltd's (NZE:MEL) Australian business for AUD 729 million (USD 527.3m/EUR 467.9m), a regulatory filing showed on Monday.

Under the terms, the Shell-ICG consortium will split the New Zealand company's integrated renewables business upon finalising the transaction so that ICG ends up with power generating assets and projects in development.

Specifically, ICG will get to own two wind farms -- the 131.2-MW Mt Mercer in Victoria and the 70-MW Mt Millar in South Australia, -- the Hume, Burrinjuck and Keepit hydro power stations in New South Wales, and developments assets, including the Hume hydro-powered battery project.

The transaction will give Shell control over Meridian's electricity and gas retailer Powershop Australia. Shell said in its statement that it will also acquire wind power purchase agreements (PPAs) and has agreed to offtake arrangements with ICG related to Meridian's hydro and wind assets.

ICG said that it will buy the assets through its Australian Renewables Income Fund (ARIF).

"Not only does this significantly scale our renewables portfolio but the addition of hydro comes at an important stage as we look to diversify with well-established, well-located assets. The proposed Hume hydro BESS presents a unique opportunity to develop what will be a meaningful milestone for renewables in Australia and something we hope to replicate elsewhere," ICG managing director Tom Laidlaw said.

In February, the New South Wales government gave its approval to Australia's first co-located battery and hydro project at Hume, paving the way for a AUD-32-million hydro-powered battery development to store energy generated by the dam and release it to the grid in times of peak demand.

The transaction is subject to foreign investment clearance for the deal from the Australian government. It is scheduled to close in the first quarter of 2022.

(AUD 1 = USD 0.723/EUR 0.642)

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