Macquarie’s green investments arm has backed a $10 billion initiative for a fast-tracked expansion into Australia’s renewables sector, building on the bank’s long-standing presence in clean energy and appetite for returns linked to decarbonisation.
The new Aula Energy – which was flagged by Macquarie CEO Shemara Wikramanayake this month – will initially focus on 4 gigawatts of large-scale wind, solar and integrated battery projects to be rolled out across Australia, with the first two set to reach financial close in 2024.
Aula CEO Chad Hymas (left) and Macquarie’s Lachlan Creswell in Sydney last week ahead of the launch of the renewable energy spin-off. Louie Douvis
But Lachlan Creswell, head of Macquarie Asset Management’s green investments team in Australia and New Zealand, says that is just the start as the bank establishes a scaled-up presence across the region.
“The instructions to the team coming in were, ‘don’t think of this as the portfolio, think of this as the starting point’… the opportunity that we can see is to use that as a base to grow,” he told The Australian Financial Review.
“That’s certainly one of the reasons why we’ve had a deliberate focus on the Australian market, to say we have that opportunity to really build a business of scale here.”
The establishment of Aula reflects how renewable energy has transformed over the last 15 years from a relatively niche sector to a major focus for Macquarie and its investor client base, and the need for an accelerated deployment of renewables to meet climate targets, Mr Creswell said.
“The investors we work with in the asset management business, institutional investors more broadly, are really seeing the scale opportunity in the sector,” he said.
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