CBD Energy puffs up wind farm with new partner

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Diversified renewable energy company, CBD Energy Limited (ASX: CBD) has received a leg up in the development of the company’s wind farm project, located at Taralga in the New South Wales southern highlands.

Global clean energy banker Banco Santander is poised to take a 90 per cent interest in the equity in the project (subject to completion of final due diligence).

The remaining 10 per cent will stay with CBD Energy.

According to CBD Energy, Santander is Europe’s largest bank with a market capitalisation of 49 billion euros and total assets of 1,290 billion euros.

“This is an exciting development for CBD and its development of the Taralga project,” CBD Energy managing director and chief executive officer Gerry McGowan said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“Banco Santander is the world’s number one bank investing in clean energy investments. In 2011, Santander participated in projects which, once built, will have a total installed capacity of 9,181 megawatts.”

CBD Energy explained Taralga to be a circa $250 million project with development approval that is anticipated to have an installed capacity of 106.8 megawatts.

This will be Santander’s first wind project in Australia.

“We have been working with CBD for some time on this exciting project. It is one of the few shovel ready projects in Australia with an off-take agreement,” Santander head of credit markets Asia-Pacific David Swindin said in the CBD Energy announcement.

“Since 2005, Santander has actively developed projects, provided advice, raised third party funds (equity and debt) and invested proprietary equity in renewable energy transactions accounting for more than 900 megawatts.

“CBD have impressed us with their professionalism and entrepreneurship and we are in the process of evaluating other projects they have brought to us.”

The project partners said they are well advanced in raising the debt required and finalising arrangements with the project’s preferred turbine supplier.

When completed in 2014, Taralga is expected to generate 300 gigawatt hours a year of renewable energy, which CBD Energy said would be the equivalent of meeting the annual energy need of 40,000 homes.