Hong Kong-Based Private Equity Firm Bets on Australia’s Battery and Solar Industries

By Nick Hedley

Hong Kong-based real estate private equity firm Gaw Capital Partners has entered Australia’s renewable energy sector with a majority investment in Maoneng Group’s operations in the country.

The renamed entity, Gaw Maoneng Renewables (GMR), is developing six projects, which will have a combined installed capacity of 1.9GW, across Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. The lead project is the 240MW/480MWh Mornington battery energy storage system.

The six projects – mostly batteries but also some solar – require at least A$2 billion (US$1.3 billion) in capital expenditure, the company said in a statement. Gaw Capital Partners and its institutional investor partners will contribute both equity and debt funding.

Morris Zhou, GMR’s chief executive and managing director, said: “The transition to renewable energy in Australia is accelerating under this government’s policy, and batteries are a key piece to the puzzle in facilitating higher grid penetration by solar and wind.”

Christina Gaw, managing principal, global head of capital markets and co-chair of alternative investments of Gaw Capital Partners, said: “With the growing interest conveyed to us by many of our institutional investors to allocate capital to tangible assets in the clean energy and ESG space in Asia and Australia, we are very pleased with the opportunity to back one of the largest energy infrastructure investments in support of Australia’s energy transition away from fossil fuels.”

Herbin Koh, director and head of venture and growth equity at Gaw Capital Partners, said: “We have been looking for some time at a suitable entry into the clean energy investment sector, and utility-scale batteries underpin the dispatchable energy requirements for the grid to transition from its mix from coal and gas to renewable energy generation.”