Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest claimed the mantle of Australia’s biggest renewable energy player as he swooped for developer CWP Renewables, adding to his businesses’ fast-growing stable of interests in green power and hydrogen.
Forrest’s Squadron Energy today (Wednesday) announced the acquisition of CWP Renewables in deal reportedly worth A$4bn ($2.7bn) that takes Squadron's total operating portfolio to 2.4GW with a 20GW Australian pipeline.
Forrest – known in Australia as ‘Twiggy’ – has emerged as one of the world’s highest-profile green hydrogen advocates, with his Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) involved in massive project development and equipment production plans across the planet.
At home in Australia, that includes plans for huge electrolyser arrays producing green hydrogen and other fuels for local use and export – but needing vast inputs of renewable power to operate.
The mining tycoon who made his fortune through his Fortescue Metals business said: “Squadron is proud to bring a very significant portion of Australia’s renewable energy assets home to local ownership. It means that Squadron has the renewable energy critical mass to help Australia step beyond fossil fuels.”
Squadron bought CWP Renewables from Switzerland-based Partners Group, which since 2016 built the company as a renewables ‘platform’ that develops wind, solar and battery projects and supplies green energy to Australian corporates such as Woolworths Group, Sydney Airport, Commonwealth Bank and Snowy Hydro.
Squadron said CWP Renewables’ portfolio – which includes 1.1GW in operation – would dovetail well with its existing assets, allowing to widen and deepen its market penetration and claiming it would “deliver the lowest produced cost of firm renewable energy”.
Squadron CEO Eva Hanly said: “When large industrial and commercial customers come to us, they are looking for efficient and firmed renewable power at scale. With this acquisition, we will develop and operate an extensive geographic portfolio of night and daytime wind, solar and storage assets that will ensure reliability of supply for our customers.”
Squadron is already advancing the $3bn Clarke Creek wind, solar and battery project that it claims is the largest grid-connected renewables project underway in Australia.
CWP Global, which is separately developing some of the world's largest hydrogen projects, including a stake alongside BP in the vast Australian Renewable Energy Hub, owned a small minority stake in the CWP Renewables business but is otherwise unaffected by the deal.