ENERGY STORAGE

Akaysha Energy closes A$250m debt raise for 700MWh of Australian storage

May 1, 2024

Akaysha Energy has closed a A$250m debt raise with a group of seven banks, with the financing to be used to fund for Akaysha’s Queensland-based Ulinda Park and Brendale battery energy storage system (BESS) projects, which will add more than 700MWh of new energy storage to Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM).

The bank group is made up of CBA, DBS, ING, Mizuho, MUFG, Rabobank and SMBC.

The portfolio facility has a tenor of three years and will be used to fund the construction costs for Ulinda Park and Brendale BESS projects. The portfolio financing also provides more than A$100m of letters of credit to “support the projects’ security obligations,” a statement said.

The Ulinda Park BESS is being developed adjacent to the Western Downs substation at Hopeland near Chinchilla in Queensland’s Western Downs region. Construction of the first phase of the Ulinda Park project, which will involve the installation of a 155MW / 298 MWh battery featuring a Powin Battery, has begun.

The Brendale BESS is to be built on a site owned by Unity Water, next to the South Pine substation, the central node of Queensland’s electricity grid. Construction of the 205MW / 410MWh Brendale BESS, which will feature Tesla Megapack technology, is “expected to start imminently,” the statement said.

Akaysha was advised by Azure Capital and Ashurst with HSF acting as lenders’ counsel. The due diligence advisors on the transaction were: DNV, Aurora, Marsh, KPMG and Mazars.

Balance of plant will be delivered by Consolidated Power Projects. The projects will provide energy arbitrage and frequency control ancillary services to support the NEM and its rapid expansion of solar and wind projects leveraging existing transmission infrastructure in the region. The projects are expected to commence commercial operations in 2025.

Andrew Wegman, managing director of finance & investments at Akaysha, said: “This financing unlocks capital to be recycled into the construction and development of Akaysha’s extensive pipeline of BESS projects in Australia and internationally. We were pleased to receive very strong support from the local bank market demonstrating their continued commitment to drive the energy transition. This first-of-its-kind BESS portfolio financing is pivotal to supporting the energy transition and improving grid stability.”

BlackRock, via its Climate Infrastructure franchise, acquired Akaysha in September 2022.

Charlie Reid, APAC co-head of climate infrastructure at BlackRock, said: We’re pleased to see Akaysha secure a A$250 million portfolio financing to accelerate the development of its BESS projects, Ulinda Park and Brendale, within the NEM. This portfolio will significantly bolster the delivery of a stable supply of energy to the broader Australian community. BlackRock has identified the transition to a low-carbon economy as one of the key mega forces driving investments around the world. It will likely require an investment of around US$200 trillion in capital, presenting a substantial investment challenge. This capital raise represents a significant step towards accelerating that transition, positioning Australia to establish itself as a global renewable superpower.”