Origin Energy Said to Start Australian Wind Farm Sale Next Week

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  • Guodian, Goldwind among firms speaking to potential advisers
  • Australian producer to commit to buying power from new owner

Origin Energy Ltd., the Australian energy producer and retailer, plans to start the sale of an Australian wind farm project after gauging interest from potential buyers, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Sydney-based company will ask next week for expressions of interest for its planned Stockyard Hill project west of Melbourne, one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Chinese companies including Golden Concord Holdings Ltd., China Guodian Corp., Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. and State Power Investment Corp. have already spoken with potential advisers, according to the people.

Origin, whose debt ballooned in the years it took to build the A$25.9 billion ($19.7 billion) Australia Pacific liquefied natural gas plant, has pledged spending cuts and this week suspended its dividend. It is among energy producers that are struggling from falling prices as demand weakens and new projects from Asia to North America expand a supply glut.

Stockyard Hill is located in Victoria state, near the city of Ballarat, according to the project’s website. A sale of the proposed wind farm will include an agreement where Origin commits to buy power from the new owner, the people said. 

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Representatives for Origin and Goldwind declined to comment. Spokesmen for Golden Concord, Guodian and SPIC didn’t immediately answer calls and e-mails seeking comment.

Origin this week left the door open to splitting in two once it further trims its debt. The Australian company agreed in June to sell the Cullerin wind farm for A$72 million, after saying the month before it would divest the Mortlake gas pipeline for A$245 million. It also plans to offer the Darling Downs pipeline for sale, as well as oil and gas assets in the Perth and Cooper Basins.

Beijing-based SPIC bought Australian renewable energy developer Pacific Hydro Pty in January, giving the company a platform to explore more foreign expansion opportunities. Chinese companies have announced at least $4.8 billion of overseas alternative energy acquisitions in the past year as President Xi Jinping seeks to spur investment in non-fossil fuels and cut pollution, data compiled by Bloomberg show.