08 December 2022
While solar saw record-breaking deployment levels in 20211, and wind generation increased by a record 273 TWh2, the IEA estimates average annual additions of these technologies need to at least double if we’re to achieve net zero by 20503. That’s why we’re working with our portfolio companies and partners to drive volume in these core renewable energy technologies.
Having secured rights to a number of new developments during the reporting period - including Sceirde Rocks in Ireland and the 2 GW West of Orkney Wind Farm in Scotland – we had created one of the largest offshore wind development portfolios in the world. In April 2022, we launched Corio Generation to take that portfolio forward as a specialist offshore wind business.
Since its launch, Corio has announced projects in Brazil, Vietnam and Australia, as well as new partnerships to advance cutting-edge floating offshore wind developments in the Mediterranean and Celtic Seas. In May 2022, Corio announced its partnership with Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan – one of the world’s largest institutional investors – which will invest up to $US1 billion to support the development of its portfolio.
Our European solar development business, Cero Generation, has also seen significant expansion throughout the reporting period, growing its development pipeline to over 9 GW across 150 projects, and its team to over 70 technical and investment specialists.
In September 2021, Cero started construction on its first subsidy-free utility scale project in the UK, and in early 2022 it reached financial close on a series of projects in Italy, and a 100 MW project in Greece, which benefits from a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Axpo – making it the first PPA-backed solar project in that region. Two long-term PPAs back Cero’s 70 MW Agrivoltaic Pontinia development in Lazio, Italy, while the 48MW Castrum project, also in Lazio, signed a PPA with Centrica.
In July, we stepped up our commitment to the US solar market through an investment in Galehead Renewables. This followed the acquisition of two French solar developers, Reden Solar and Apex Energies Group through the Macquarie Green Investment Group Renewable Energy Fund 2 (MGREF2). Solar development capacity within our portfolio now stands at almost 50 GW globally.
While we have seen strong growth in wind and solar generation, investment in clean energy remains highly concentrated in advanced economies4. GIG and our portfolio companies are therefore increasingly focused on accelerating deployment in emerging markets.
Blueleaf Energy, our onshore renewables development platform operating across APAC, is driving deployment in emerging markets such as Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and India, in addition to developed markets like Japan and Taiwan. Over the reporting period, Blueleaf signed a power purchase agreement with Thai Asia Pacific Brewery Group to power its ‘Brewed by the Sun’ project in Thailand, and through its subsidiary Vibrant Energy, signed PPAs for 231 MW to power data centres for Sify – one of India’s leading digital solutions providers.
In July 2022, alongside partners Hydro Rein, we acquired our first combined onshore wind and solar development in Brazil through MGREF2. This pioneering development will supply renewable electricity to a bauxite mine and aluminium refinery through a long-term PPA. This will facilitate the refinery’s transition from coal to electric boilers, helping to deliver green aluminium production in a traditionally hard to abate, heavy emissions sector.
According to the IEA6, around half of the cumulative emissions reductions required to move the world onto a sustainable trajectory come from four main technology approaches: electrification of end-use sectors such as heating and transport; the application of carbon capture, utilisation and storage; the use of low-carbon hydrogen and hydrogen-derived fuels; and the use of bioenergy.
These technologies represent the next phase of the energy transition. That’s why we’re working to accelerate the deployment of the technologies and solutions that will drive electrification and deep decarbonisation across all sectors of the economy and to provide our clients exposure to these opportunities.
According to the IEA7, to achieve net zero by 2050, electricity needs to account for 50% of total energy consumption, and 90% of that electricity needs to come from renewable sources. To facilitate this transformation and maintain security of supply, significant investment is required to increase the flexibility of our energy systems through the deployment of technologies like battery storage.
In November 2022, via the Macquarie GIG Energy Transition Solutions (MGETS) fund we launched Eku Energy, our global battery storage business.8 Upon completion of launch in all proposed jurisdictions and subject to receipt of regulatory approvals, Eku will have 190 MWh of flexible storage capacity under construction and a further development pipeline of more than 3 GWh across the UK, Australia, Japan and Taiwan.
The pipeline includes Maldon, a 40 MW Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) in Essex, which was the first project in the portfolio to reach financial close, and a 150 MW project located at the site of the former Hazelwood Power Station in the Latrobe Valley, which is set to be Australia's largest privately funded and owned utility-scale battery project.
The electrification of sectors like transportation can also present opportunities for supporting the delivery of smart, flexible energy systems. In September 2022 we launched Fleete, a new electric vehicle infrastructure business for operators of electric commercial vehicles. Its charging-as-a-service model helps fleet owners accelerate their transition to electric vehicles by providing access to charging infrastructure. Using smart, two-way charging technologies Fleete’s customers can optimise energy consumption and business spend, while also providing demand management services that offer significant benefits for electricity networks.
However, not all sectors can be electrified. That's why we’re also working to accelerate the deployment of technologies that will deliver green molecules.
As the EU looks to rapidly reduce its dependency on imported natural gas, it has set ambitious targets for the production of green hydrogen and biomethane9. To help deliver these targets, we announced the launch of HyCC in December 2021. A joint venture with Nobian, HyCC uses water electrolysis to produce green hydrogen from renewable power at an industrial scale. Its development portfolio stands at more than 1 GW and includes projects that will produce green hydrogen for methanol, aviation fuels and steel production.
Via MGETS, we also acquired a specialist biogas platform from BayWa AG r.e10. The platform develops, constructs and operates biogas projects that provide biomethane and power to local energy companies, industrials and energy traders. Its existing portfolio comprises five operational plants in Germany and a pipeline of development projects located across Italy.