Lend Lease Ventures Invests in Windlab

Wind energy company Windlab Systems said today a capital investment from one of Australia's leading companies is a huge vote of confidence in its ability to deliver world-class wind energy projects globally.

Windlab - which uses proprietary technology to identify, and develop commercially viable sites for wind farm projects - has secured a $10 million investment led by Lend Lease's venture capital arm, Lend Lease Ventures, and supported by existing shareholders including Sydney based Innovation Capital, to assist in expanding its operations ahead of a planned IPO in 2011.

"Lend Lease is a recognised leader in sustainable buildings and urban regeneration projects and to have secured their support is a terrific endorsement of the progress we have made as well as an acknowledgement of the importance of our unique technology to the renewable energy sector," Windlab chief executive Mark Sinclair said.

"Wind energy generation is a well proven, mature technology and the most viable of the current renewable energy technologies.

"Along with the pressures of climate change, we are faced with a rapidly increasing appetite for energy and a dwindling supply of non-renewable energy resources, making the rapid expansion in the uptake of wind energy not only urgent but also a compelling case, not just in Australia, but across the globe.

"We are proud to have the support of a world-class company that recognises the importance of sustainable solutions as well as an environmentally responsible approach to business."

Windlab, which was spun out from CSIRO's Atmospheric Research Unit, uses world-leading windmapping technology to accurately, and remotely, locate and validate prospective sites for wind farms.

"The major competitive advantage of our technology is that it takes the guesswork out of identifying the best sites at which to develop vital wind energy projects acceptable to local communities, even before the first visits to those sites to determine their viability," Mr Sinclair added.

"Using the technology, we can source the best possible project opportunities, with the lowest community impact, the lowest project risks, and work with all our stakeholders to develop world class wind generation facilities."

Windlab's current portfolio of projects is in excess of 5,000MW under active development across Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and North America which, when fully developed would supply the demand for the equivalent of more than two million average households.

"We have been very impressed with Windlab's business model and believe it is very well positioned for continued success in the development of significant wind energy projects, both in its home and offshore markets," Lend Lease Ventures' CEO Anthony Pascoe said.

"Further, we believe that we will be able to bring considerable value to the table as a strategic investor in Windlab, particularly given the Lend Lease group's global reach and well-recognised development experience.

"Lend Lease is committed to delivering best practice environmentally sustainable solutions and our venture capital activities help the wider group keep at the leading edge of the curve in this regard."

Jan Bingley, general manager of IP and Licensing at the CSIRO, said Windlab's pioneering work was testament to the world-leading standards of Australia's scientific research community.

"Windlab is a great example of how an Australian company can be a thought leader on the world stage at this critical time and in the face of such urgent challenges as addressing energy needs," Ms Bingley said.

"It is also an excellent example of the CSIRO's ability to develop great science and convert the outcomes of that science into commercial ventures."