GFG Alliance Acquires Majority Stake In Australia’s Zen Energy

Zen Energy And GFG Alliance

Image: Zen Energy

The new owner of Whyalla’s steelworks has taken a controlling stake in South Australia-based Zen Energy, stating it will create a new Australian “national energy champion”.

GFG Alliance is an international group of businesses headquartered in the UK, founded and owned by the Gupta Family. It consists of energy, mining, metals, engineering and financial services operations and has a presence in dozens of countries.

Among its companies is SIMEC Energy, which has hydro and bio power, waste to energy, on- and off-shore wind, solar power and pumped hydro in its portfolio of assets.

Early this month, GFG Alliance acquired the former Arrium Mining (now SIMEC Mining) and Arrium Steel businesses, including OneSteel (now Liberty OneSteel) and other brands.

The joint venture with Zen will be known as SIMEC Zen Energy. It has a goal of delivering cheaper, more reliable and cleaner energy for SIMEC ’s mining operations in South Australia, Liberty OneSteel’s operations across the country and other businesses. It will also manage development of SIMEC Energy Australia’s new large scale energy projects that include solar PV, battery storage and pumped hydro plants.

“The high cost of energy for Australian consumers is debilitating for the economy and a crying shame for a country so rich in resources,” said Sanjeev Gupta, GFG Alliance’s Founder and Executive Chairman. “GFG Alliance is already one of the biggest users of industrial energy in Australia. Given the issues here, it has been a priority for us to take decisive remedial steps. Combining our power expertise developed in the UK, and Zen’s local knowledge in Australia, is a natural partnership.”

As well as providing cheaper and cleaner energy for its own operations, Mr. Gupta stated that as the venture will significantly reduce demand on the mains grid, it will drive down the cost of power for all Australians – dramatically.

Zen Energy was founded by Richard Turner in Adelaide in 2004. Starting out with designing and installing solar power solutions for residential and commercial customers, the company also moved into battery storage and offering energy solutions to industrial customers.

Zen Energy’s chairman is Ross Garnaut, author of the Garnaut Climate Change Reviews (2008 and 2011). Mr. Garnaut joined Zen Energy in 2015.

“We have been looking for the right capital investor and strategic partner to help realise our plans, and have found the perfect match in Sanjeev and the SIMEC Energy team,” said Mr. Garnaut. “Their understanding of the energy dilemma this country faces, which is making much of our industry uncommercial and environmentally unsustainable, means we see the market need and opportunity in the same way.

While focusing on energy supply for large industrial customers, Zen Energy states the company may be able offer electricity supply contracts to homes, business, and smaller industrial users in the future.

Part of GFG Alliance’s overall vision is its “GreenSteel” strategy, which seeks to transform the manufacturing of steel and related activities. It involves recycling and upcycling scrap steel using electric arc furnaces powered by renewable energy. The company began extending the approach to other metals, including aluminium, last year.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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