Merricks Capital Pty Ltd, Hudson Creek Power Station and Batchelor Solar Farm

Indigenous Engagement Strategy summary: Merricks Capital Pty

New Infrastructure & Upgrades for Darwin, Tennant Creek & Alice Springs Airports (Investment Decision January 2019)

Project Overview

NAIF is supporting the renewable energy sector in the Northern Territory by financing Merricks Capital to establish two greenfield power generation projects in the Darwin and Coomalie regions. NAIF financing will be invested into the Hudson Creek Power Station (HCPS) – a 12 MW gas power plant and the Batchelor Solar Farm (BSF) – 12.4 MW dc/10MWac solar plant.

Merricks, an Australian based investment manager, is partnering with Rimfire Energy, a privately owned electricity business based in the Territory, to support the fast-growing renewable energy sector including solar which is the most widely used energy resource in the NT.

The dual power projects will be contributing to the NT’s renewable energy target of 50% by 2030 and provide a more efficient energy network reducing the need to use older and less efficient gas and diesel generators.

The construction of both projects commenced in early 2020, supporting a total of 162 jobs during the construction phase and looking to sustain 34 jobs during operations.

Key Commitments

  • Ongoing engagement with six monthly meetings with CEOs of key Indigenous stakeholders to explore opportunities and collaboration including Larrakia Development Corporation (LDC), Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation (LNAC), Iron Bark and Dice.
  • Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation (LNAC) to deliver cross cultural awareness training to employees and contractors.
  • Annual support to upskill three Indigenous electricians to achieve Clean Energy Regulator Certification –through a partnership with Dice Australia (a 100 percent Indigenous owned NT electrical company).
  • Procure products through Ironbark’s Rapid Clean (a not-for-profit organisation supporting Indigenous communities in the Darwin Daly region).
  • Explore partnerships with the Larrakia Development Corporation (LDC) to support a renewable energy solution for the new Larrakia Cultural Centre.
  • Sponsorship of the annual NAIDOC Ball and support for community events.
  • Explore options for a flora & fauna project with Larrakia Rangers, CSIRO and Ironbark.

Community Engagement

The energy projects will enable opportunities to develop positive, ongoing, collaborative relationships with the Larrakia people and the local Aboriginal community.

Through the Indigenous Engagement Strategy, Merricks are committed to engaging with the local community by:

  • undertaking cultural competency training;
  • contributing to capacity building in the local energy sector;
  • contracting local Indigenous businesses;
  • exploring future employment opportunities; and
  • providing community support for key events and projects.

Supporting Stronger Communities

Merricks will annually review their Indigenous Engagement Strategy with key Indigenous stakeholders to make sure it is updated and relevant to the project and community.

Due to the advanced nature of the projects the IES focusses on building a partnership approach to identifying a range of practical commitments that aim to contribute to positive community outcomes during the operational phase of the power plant and solar farm.

To help build an Indigenous workforce for the renewable energy sector, up to three Indigenous electricians will be supported to complete their Clean Energy Certification in partnership with Dice Australia with the same opportunity to be offered to their apprentices on an ongoing basis.