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Wind farm deal

Wednesday, 9th January, 2008

The Macquarie Bank's investment arm has signed on to help build the largest wind farm in Australia near Silverton. The farm has been proposed by renewable energy company Epuron. It is proposing to build the $2.5 billion project on the ranges outside of Silverton. 

Between 400 and 500 wind turbines will produce enough green, efficient energy to power 400,000 houses a year, the company says. It will be Australia's biggest wind farm. The Macquarie Capital Group has signed a Joint Venture Agreement with Epuron. They will develop and build the farm together. Epuron Executive Director Andrew Durran said the deal was a "big tick" for the proposal. "We've got the ability to develop wind farms - that's something we've done before," Mr Durran said. 

"Macquarie has a lot of experience in funding these kinds of major projects. In a sense we're bringing that experience in house," he said.

"(Epuron) knows what they're doing, but we know we're not a household name." 

Macquarie Bank will bring additional stability, recognition and credibility to the project, Mr Durran said. They have seen the project and signed up to it as they recognised it was a good idea, he said. Macquarie Bank will not finance the farm itself. Mr Durran said Epuron was busily working on site and all was on track to have a Development Application submitted to the NSW Government by the end of March.

If approved the farm could be generating electricity by next year, creating employment in the process.

Epuron and Macquarie will each take a 50 per cent stake in the development to build what will be Australia's largest wind project.

Epuron chairman Rob Sauer said Australia was entering an exciting new phase of renewable energy development with this project.

"Together with Macquarie Capital, we will be well positioned to deliver excellent results from the Silverton Wind Farm project for all stakeholders, including the local community," he said.

Epuron Australia is part of Conergy, Germany's largest solar energy company by sales.Epuron said the project would have as many as 500 turbines generating about 1,000 megawatts of electricity - enough to power about 400,000 homes.

NSW Energy Minister Ian Macdonald supports the project that could create 100 permanent jobs in the local district.

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