Rest makes big renewable energy investment

Rest will fully acquire the Western Australian Collgar Wind Farm, both expanding the fund’s infrastructure portfolio and making the renewable energy project one of the largest ones in the country to be directly owned by a super fund.

Rest previously held a 40 per cent stake in the project and would acquire the remaining 60 per cent share for UBS Asset Management’s Real Estate & Private Markets Infrastructure business. The super fund had been involved with Collgar since construction began at the start of the decade.

“As an existing owner, Rest has been able to monitor and assess the wind farm’s operational performance since construction was completed in 2011. Taking full ownership is a great opportunity to drive further value from the asset and strengthen Rest’s infrastructure portfolio,” Super Investment Management, Rest’s internal investment manager, chief investment officer, George Zielinski, said.

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Infrastructure currently made up around 6 per cent of Rest’s Core Strategy’s asset allocation, and Zielinski said the fund was planning to build this out with further investments across diverse geographies and asset types.

“The [Collgar] project has and is expected to continue to generate sustainable cash flows. We are confident it will help grow members’ retirement savings into the future,” he added.

UBS Asset Management said it was opportune timing for it to divest from Collgar, as the firm had reached the conclusion of its business plan for the farm and disposing of it now would “crystallise the value created on behalf of clients”.

Collgar looked to be a strong investment, generating on average 40 to 50 per cent of Western Australia’s renewable energy, which would be enough to power up 170,000 households and displace up to 690,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually. It was the largest windfarm in the state, built on 18,000 hectares of land with a total capacity of 206 megawatts.

The deal was negotiated by Super Investment Management, who would also conclude the acquisition.

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