Victoria’s Gippsland region has been named host of a new multibillion-dollar renewable energy park after the project received financial backing from superfund Hostplus.
The 3,000-hectare site, owned by Octopus Australia as part of a joint venture with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CFEC) on behalf of the Australian Government, will be built in the heart of the proposed Gippsland Renewable Energy Zone (GREZ).
Helping to accelerate the region’s uptake of clean energy and bolster power supply to the National Electricity Market, the project will help replace the fossil fuel supply lost when the Yallourn coal-fired power station closes in 2028.
“Gippsland has been a powerhouse for the National Electricity Market for many years. This development will contribute to the region’s transition to a clean energy future while continuing to supply the power that helps keep Australia’s lights on,” CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said.
“With the planned construction of both solar and storage at the site, the GREP also offers an exciting opportunity for the Gippsland community to benefit from the clean energy economy.
“We are delighted that Hostplus has come on board, building its future green investment pipeline on behalf of its diverse 1.4 million members and delivering on the CEFC commitment to attract private sector capital to renewable energy developments.”
Providing a much-needed boost to an area recently hit by bushfires and still suffering from the decline of traditional regional industries like timber and coal, the construction and development of the Gippsland Renewable Energy Park (GREP) is set to create several thousand jobs in the region.
Octopus Australia will invest in the project in collaboration with investments from Hostplus and CEFC – which is financing up to $8.5 million towards the solar, wind, battery storage and potentially green hydrogen project.
“We are very excited to be able to work with such well-respected partners in bringing the GREP project to life,” Octopus Australia managing director Sam Reynolds said.
“It is a great opportunity to combine the resources and capital of each group into a collaboration that can build GREP in a way that benefits not only Australia’s clean energy future but equally as importantly, the local Gippsland community.”
The GREP project is the latest in a growing portfolio of CEFC and Octopus Australia joint ventures, following the recent acquisition of the 44 MW Perry Bridge and 80 MW Fulham solar farm development projects in the Gippsland region.
"The GREP will set the benchmark for future clean energy infrastructure projects,” assistant Minister to the Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Tim Wilson, said.
Octopus Australia, a subsidiary of the Octopus Group, entered the Australian market over four years ago and currently manages more than $1 billion in assets. Founded in 2000, the Octopus Group is one of the world’s largest investors in clean energy, with more than $6 billion deployed across more than 300 projects.
“Today is an especially historic day for the fund as we announced this morning our commitment to Net-Zero by 2050,” Hostplus CEO David Elia said.
“We’re privileged to take part in this pioneering venture, which has the potential to aid Australia’s transition to a low-carbon economy and generate valuable jobs in Gippsland, all while delivering the potential for strong investment outcomes to our members.”
The CEFC investment supports the Australian Government Technology Investment Roadmap energy storage targets.
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