Banpu buys solar farms in Australia

Banpu buys solar farms in Australia

The 110.9MW Beryl Solar Farm in Australia is a newly acquired asset of Banpu Plc.
The 110.9MW Beryl Solar Farm in Australia is a newly acquired asset of Banpu Plc.

SET-listed Banpu Plc, a non-oil energy conglomerate, has acquired two utility-scale solar farms in New South Wales, Australia, in a deal worth A$97.5 million (2.33 billion baht) to further increase its clean power generation capacity.

The new assets are Beryl Solar Farm (BSF) with a capacity of 110.9 megawatts (MW) and Manildra Solar Farm (MSF) with a capacity of 55.9MW.

The purchase marks another step in Banpu's move toward renewable generation in Australia where it has been operating coal mines for more than two decades.

"It is an important step in laying the foundation in terms of strategic investment in clean energy and expanding Banpu's energy ecosystem in Australia," said Somruedee Chaimongkol, Banpu's chief executive.

The new assets will enable Banpu to achieve a power generation capacity of 6,100MW by 2025.

Banpu made the investment through its wholly-owned Banpu Energy Hold Trusty Co and its energy technology arm Banpu NEXT Co, which invested through Banpu Renewable Australia Pty. Each equally holds a 50% share in an asset.

The investment is in line with Banpu's strategy to focus on projects that can immediately generate cash flow.

BSF has been in operation since June 2019 while MSF began operations earlier in 2018.

The two solar farms supply electricity to the National Electricity Market (NEM) under a long-term power purchase agreement.

The New South Wales government supports electricity generation from renewable energy sources, including wind and solar, which made up 14% of NEM's power generation mix in 2020.

In another development, the Electricity Generating Plc (Egco), a subsidiary of state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, has completed its acquisition of 28% ownership in Linden Topco, which owns a 972MW natural gas-fired co-generation facility, known as Linden Cogen, in Linden, New Jersey. The purchase value was not shared.

Linden Cogen supplies electricity to parts of New York and New Jersey. The two areas are densely populated, so Egco expects the share acquisition to provide steady revenue.

The investment was made through Egco's wholly-owned EGCO Linden II LLC, which bought the shares from AEIF Linden SPV LLC and Highstar Capital GP IV.

The new asset will pave the way for future investment opportunities in the US as well as add 272MW to Egco's power generation capacity, said Egco president Thepparat Theppitak.

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