If there was every any doubt that Andrew Forrest is serious about renewable energy, it has been blown out of the water by his private energy vehicle Squadron Energy’s move to acquire CWP Renewables.

The move follows on Squadron’s previous acquisition of renewable energy developer Windlab and makes the company Australia’s largest renewable energy investor, operator and developer with a operating portfolio of 2.4 gigawatts and a development pipeline of 20GW.

According to the company, this will be sufficient to provide enough electricity to power 8.5 million homes, more than twice the number of homes in New South Wales.

More importantly, that will go a significant way towards helping Australia meet its net zero targets.

“Squadron is proud to bring a very significant portion of Australia’s renewable energy assets home to local ownership. It means that Squadron has the renewable energy critical mass to help Australia step beyond fossil fuels,” Forrest noted.

Forrest has certainly not been shy about his renewable energy ambitions, speaking out on numerous occasions about the need for Australia to adopt zero emissions sources of energy in order to address climate change.

While Squadron Energy has taken the lead with renewable energy developments, Fortescue’s green energy arm FFI has also been pushing ahead with technology investments and other initiatives such as pushing for the adoption of green steel, which is steel produced using green hydrogen.

Nor is Forrest the only Australian billionaire pushing for greater adoption of renewables and batteries, with the likes of Mike Cannon-Brookes taking a stake in AGL, which has progressively closed coal-fired plants and recently announced the early closure of the Torrens B gas-fired plant.

Renewable energy projects

CWP currently operates over 1.1GW of wind assets including Sapphire Wind Farm, the largest in NSW, which has 75 turbines generating up to 270 megawatts (MW); Murra Warra I and II with a combined 435MW; and Crudine Ridge, which has 37 wind turbines and generates 142MW.

It also has approvals in place to construct four more wind farms in NSW totalling over 750MW, along with a construction-ready 414MW wind farm, 180MW solar farm, two battery farms and a firming power station capable of using hydrogen, biofuels and hydrogen gas blends.

This adds to the $3 billion Clarke Creek renewable energy hub in central Queensland – the largest grid connected project in the country – that Squadron is building, and starting construction on another 2GW worth of projects within the next 18 months.