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Herbert Smith Freehills is pleased to have advised the Victorian State Electricity Commission (SEC) on its $245 million investment in the Melbourne Renewable Energy Hub project (MREH) and partnership with Equis Australia. 

The investment into MREH is the SEC’s first investment under the Pioneer Investment Program, which plans to invest an initial A$1 billion towards delivering 4.5 gigawatts of power through new build renewable energy and storage projects.

The Melbourne Renewable Energy Hub will be located 25km northwest of Melbourne’s commercial business district. Once fully developed it will aim to deliver an initial 1.6GWh of battery energy storage system (BESS) capacity. The MREH BESS, which is engineered by and procured from Tesla, will be amongst the largest BESS’ in the APAC region and will contribute to meeting the Victorian Government’s aim to deliver at least 2.6GWh of energy storage capacity as part of its renewable energy targets and the SEC’s objectives of accelerating Victoria’s transition to a zero-emissions electricity system in partnership with the private sector and government initiatives.

As part of its investment, the SEC has also entered into offtake agreements with MREH, which it hopes will facilitate the SEC to deliver on its objective of providing affordable and reliable energy to Victorian households, businesses, and industries.

The Herbert Smith Freehills team was led by partner and Global Co-Head of Energy Nick Baker, senior associate Maddison Hardiman, and solicitors Olivia Smedley, Ella McKay and Thea Stephenson, who worked on investment and governance matters and were supported by other members of Herbert Smith Freehills’ multidisciplinary Projects, Energy and Infrastructure Team. This included partners Gerard Pike and Alison Dodd, and Solicitors Tia Liu, Maria Nomikoudis and Ben Coombs, who worked on offtake, project development and financing matters.

EY were the commercial and financial adviser to SEC, whilst White & Case advised Equis Australia in respect of the investment.

Herbert Smith Freehills partner Nick Baker said, “We are delighted to have worked with the SEC on this significant transaction. We look forward to seeing this project progress and working with the SEC throughout the process and in its continued progress toward delivering its Strategic Plan.”

This deal is another example of Herbert Smith Freehills’ leadership in the Australian energy sector, having recently advised:

  • Edify Energy on its sale of the 185MW Koorangie Energy Storage System to Sosteneo SGR Spa
  • CIMIC Group company Pacific Partnerships on the project financing of the 102 MWac/130MWdc Glenrowan Solar Farm in northern Victoria — Glenrowan Solar Farm is the first of the six successful projects chosen under the Second Victorian Renewable Energy Target Auction (VRET2) to achieve financial close
  • Funds managed by QIC on their acquisition of a 50% equity interest in Vector’s New Zealand and Australian smart metering business and related joint venture arrangements
  • Macquarie Asset Management’s Green Investment Group and investment manager InfraRed Capital Partners on the sale of a 60% equity interest in Victoria’s Lal Lal Wind Farms to Igneo Infrastructure Partners.
  • Grok Ventures on its acquisition of the Sun Cable project from administration
  • bp on its acquisition of a 40.5% equity interest in the proposed Asian Renewable Energy Hub. bp will also operate the project based in Western Australia’s Pilbara region

Key contacts

Nick Baker photo

Nick Baker

Partner and Global Co-Head of Energy, Melbourne

Nick Baker
Alison Dodd photo

Alison Dodd

Partner, Melbourne

Alison Dodd
Gerard Pike photo

Gerard Pike

Partner, Melbourne

Gerard Pike

Media contact

For further information on this article please contact

Emily Coultas

External Communications Manager

Melbourne