HomeBussinessMainstream eyes multibillion euro Australian project as losses narrow

Mainstream eyes multibillion euro Australian project as losses narrow


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Dublin-based Mainstream Renewable Power and a group of three partners have been awarded a feasibility licence by the Australian government for a 2.5 gigawatt (GW) offshore project off the coast of Victoria in the southeast of the country.

News of the multi-billion euro project comes as Mainstream’s Norwegian parent, Aker Horizons reported that the Irish green energy company posted an earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) loss of €8 million in the first quarter.

This marked a significant improvement on a €43 million loss for the preceding three months and a €48 million shortfall for the same period last year – aided by a cost-cutting programme as Mainstream continues to experience challenges in Chile, currently its main market.

Mainstream, founded in 2008 by the late green energy entrepreneur, Eddie O’Connor, is the joint lead of the Australian consortium, with a 35 per cent stake. UK-based Reventus Power has a similar interest, with the remainder held by AGL Energy and DIRECT Infrastructure.

With a feasibility licence secured, a series of detailed studies and multiyear offshore and onshore environmental surveys will commence, subject to approval processes, alongside consultation with indigenous Australians and community stakeholders.

The first phase of the project is expected to be operational in 2032, contributing significantly to the Victorian Government’s offshore wind targets of at least 2GW by then and 4GW by 2035. When fully operational, this project could power up to 1.4 million Victorian homes which is equivalent to supplying approximately 17 per cent of the state’s 2023 electricity demand, the consortium said in a statement.

“Mainstream is a pioneer in the global offshore wind industry and our track record includes developing the world’s largest offshore wind project in operation today,” said Mainstream’s chief executive Mary Quaney, referring to the 1.3GW Hornsea 2 project off the York coast.

“We have been present in Australia since 2019, developing a 1.5GW portfolio of greenfield projects onshore and we’re now excited to add offshore wind to our pipeline in this very promising market for renewable energy development.”

Mainstream has booked the equivalent of about €870 million of impairment charges against Chilean assets since the start of 2022 due to various problems in that market. However, it managed to restructure more than €1.1 billion of debt in the South American country last year – stabilising the business.

Aker Horizons owns 58 per cent of Mainstream. The estate of Mr O’Connor and Irish high-net-worth individuals continue to own 16.5 per cent. Japan’s Mitsui owns the remainder.

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