Spain’s Elecnor Group has ignored the current political climate in Australia’s renewable energy sector and launched an infrastructure subsidiary based in Melbourne. Private equity firm Eliza’s chief executive Joseph de Pedro will also act as Australian country manager of the new entity.

Mr de Pedro originally graduated from RMIT in industrial engineering before working for NEC Australia as production engineering manager, and for 20 years serving as chief executive of Omnilogic Telecomunicaciones SA.

Elecnor Australia’s first project is the $164 million solar photovoltaic farm in Moree, New South Wales for the Moree Solar Farm Company Pty Ltd, part of Fotowatio Renewables Venture. The joint venture originally included Pacific Hydro, which announced in August it was withdrawing from the project due to the policy-driven uncertainties impacting the renewable energy industry.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has contributed $101.7 million towards construction and operation of the project, and $47 million has been provided by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Covering 191 hectares, the farm will comprise 232,960 panels with a forecast annual output of 150 gigawatt-hours direct into the main energy grid, enough to power about 15,000 homes. It is expected to be complete and commissioned by the second quarter of 2015.

In a media statement, Elecnor said Australia will be a base for it to expand operations in the Asia-Pacific region, focusing on developing business infrastructure and renewable energies.

Founded in 1958, Elecnor’s worldwide activities include electricity, gas, railways, power generation, energy efficiency, water processing and the space sector, in which it operates two Earth observation satellites, Deimos 1 and Deimos 2, which have contributed significantly to tracking natural events in Australia and many other parts of the world. The firm currently operates in more than 40 countries, and has about 12,500 employees world-wide.

The Moree project has already created a number of positions to be based at the town, with the firm earlier this month advertising for an assistant project manager (engineer), a construction manager, six technical engineers as sub-contract supervisors, mechanical and electrical engineers, a civil engineer, two draftpersons, accounts and administration, purchasing and logistics.