Herbert Smith Freehills advises Victorian State Electricity Commission on its investment in Equis’ Melbourne Renewable Energy Hub Project

By admin Dec2,2023

Herbert Smith Freehills is pleased to have advised the Victorian State Electricity Commission (SEC) on its $245 million investment in the Melbourne Renewable Energy Hub project (MREH) and partnership with Equis Australia.

The investment into MREH is the SEC’s first investment under the Pioneer Investment Program, which plans to invest an initial A$1 billion towards delivering 4.5 gigawatts of power through new build renewable energy and storage projects.

The Melbourne Renewable Energy Hub will be located 25km northwest of Melbourne’s commercial business district. Once fully developed it will aim to deliver an initial 1.6GWh of battery energy storage system (BESS) capacity. The MREH BESS, which is engineered by and procured from Tesla, will be amongst the largest BESS’ in the APAC region and will contribute to meeting the Victorian Government’s aim to deliver at least 2.6GWh of energy storage capacity as part of its renewable energy targets and the SEC’s objectives of accelerating Victoria’s transition to a zero-emissions electricity system in partnership with the private sector and government initiatives.

As part of its investment, the SEC has also entered into offtake agreements with MREH, which it hopes will facilitate the SEC to deliver on its objective of providing affordable and reliable energy to Victorian households, businesses, and industries.

The Herbert Smith Freehills team was led by partner and Global Co-Head of Energy Nick Baker, senior associate Maddison Hardiman, and solicitors Olivia Smedley, Ella McKay and Thea Stephenson, who worked on investment and governance matters and were supported by other members of Herbert Smith Freehills’ multidisciplinary Projects, Energy and Infrastructure Team. This included partners Gerard Pikeand Alison Dodd, and Solicitors Tia Liu, Maria Nomikoudis and Ben Coombs, who worked on offtake, project development and financing matters.

EY were the commercial and financial adviser to SEC, whilst White & Case advised Equis Australia in respect of the investment.

Herbert Smith Freehills partner Nick Baker said, “We are delighted to have worked with the SEC on this significant transaction. We look forward to seeing this project progress and working with the SEC throughout the process and in its continued progress toward delivering its Strategic Plan.”

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