Mainstream secures permit to assess 500MW onshore wind farm in Australia

Second major project in Australia unveiled this month as group tries to move on from Chile woes

Dublin-based Mainstream Renewable Power has been awarded a permit to assess developing a 500 megawatt (MW) onshore wind farm in Australia with a local partner.

It underscores the growing focus on the Australian market for Mainstream after the company and a group of three partners were earlier this month awarded a feasibility licence by the Australian government for a 2.5 gigawatt (GW) project off the coast of Victoria in the southeast of the country. That multibillion euro project, in which Mainstream has a 35 per cent stake, would be the largest since Mainstream was set up in 2008.

The latest project would be one of the first wind farms to be hosted in a New South Wales state plantation forest, called Sunny Corner, some 200km west of Sydney. When fully operational it could power an estimated 300,000 homes and save over one million tonnes of carbon from being released each year, Mainstream said in a statement.

The Sunny Corner project is a 51/49 joint venture between Mainstream Renewable Power and Someva Renewables, an Australia-based green energy company.


Mainstream’s advance in Australia has taken some of the focus off the group’s challenges in recent years in Chile, its main market.

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.

Norway-based Aker Horizons owns 58 per cent of Mainstream. The estate of the Irish company’s founder, the late green energy entrepreneur Eddie O’Connor, and a number of Irish high net worth individuals continue to own 16.5 per cent. Japan’s Mitsui owns the remainder.

Aker Horizons reported last month that Mainstream posted a loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) 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 at Mainstream amid its woes in Chile.

Aker Horizons’s share price has slumped by 64 per cent over the past 12 months, largely around concerns over the outlook for Mainstream.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times