Sydney, 7 December 2017: Clayton Utz has acted as Australian legal counsel to Danish fund manager Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) on its partnership with Australia's Offshore Energy Ltd (Offshore Energy) to develop the proposed A$8 billion 2GW "Star of the South" project - Australia's first offshore windfarm, and the country's largest ever windfarm project. Watson Farley Williams acted as CIP's global counsel with Bruun & Hjejle acting as CIP's Danish counsel, both having worked with CIP on numerous offshore wind projects.
Through its infrastructure fund Copenhagen Infrastructure III K/S and with Copenhagen Offshore Partners leading the technical development, CIP will partner with Offshore Energy to develop the project, plans for which were announced in June this year. The project will be built in the Bass Strait, 10-25 kilometres off the south coast of Gippsland in Victoria, and connect to existing grid infrastructure in the Latrobe Valley.
The project utilises a unique structure that allows CIP to complement Offshore Energy's significant local expertise and experience by leveraging off CIP's international expertise in delivering large-scale offshore wind farms.
CIP is a market-leader in the offshore wind space, with interests in offshore wind projects in the United Kingdom, Germany, the US, Canada and Taiwan. The Star of the South project marks CIP's first foray into the Australian market.
Clayton Utz partners Peter Staciwa (Projects and Finance) and Rory Moriarty (Corporate) led the firm's deal team which also comprised partners Faith Taylor (Electricity) and Damien Gardiner (Environmental). This internationally experienced team brought together their specialist projects, corporate, environmental, energy regulatory and finance expertise to structure, negotiate and document CIP's partnership arrangements with Offshore Energy in an extremely tight timeframe.
Peter Staciwa said the Star of the South project was an exciting development for both Clayton Utz and Australia's renewable energy industry. In an increasingly competitive renewables marketplace, it is an example of a growing trend of financial sponsors such as CIP partnering at an early stage with project developers to ensure not only that the sponsor has greater investment certainty, but also that the project developers have access to the necessary resources to get the project off the ground.
The project also highlights that Clayton Utz's strategy to remain independent and partner with best-in-market firms such as Watson Farley Williams and Bruun & Hjejle is delivering results for both our domestic and international clients.
Looking ahead, while another significant offshore wind project in the short term is unlikely, Peter does expect a number of these early-stage project developer and sponsor arrangements (especially in the renewables sector) to continue into the New Year.