A new project involving solar power is about to help take Telstra to the point of carbon neutrality – but it’s not in Australia.
Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said on Tuesday the company is expected to be certified as carbon neutral by Climate Active “within weeks” – an achievement he didn’t expect until later this year. Climate Active certified Telstra broadband brand Belong carbon neutral last year, the first telco to achieve this status under the program.
Mr. Penn says Telstra is in the final stages of signing agreements with two carbon offset organisations, which will take the company to the carbon neutral line.
The first relates to a project leveraging Aboriginal knowledge and skills to reduce greenhouse gases emitted from savannah fires, which apparently make up 3% of Australia’s total emissions. This involves strategic early dry season fire management as well as late dry season fire suppression across savannah regions in Australia’s north. A similar (or perhaps part of the same) project was announced as part of the Morrison Government’s controversial Climate Solutions Package last year.
The second agreement will see Telstra purchasing offsets from a solar power project involving a number of solar farms in India. Why India? Telstra has a significant presence there; with offices and facilities in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, New Delhi and Maharashtra.
More Renewables On The Way For Telstra
Once carbon neutrality has been achieved, Telstra won’t be stopping there. In May this year Mr. Penn also announced a goal of Telstra owning or contracting enough renewable energy generation in Australia and its other locations overseas by 2025 to provide equivalent to 100 per cent of the electricity consumed by the company’s operations. Given Telstra is one of Australia’s top energy consumers, we should be seeing more Australia-based renewables projects announced in the time ahead.
Telstra already has a couple of significant Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) in place – one with the 70MW Emerald Solar Park in Queensland and with Murra Warra Wind Farm in Victoria. In terms of self-generation, Telstra’s installations have generally been reasonably small, helping to power infrastructure such as exchanges and tower locations – but there’s a lot of them. Telstra has been a pioneer in the use of solar energy, with the first installation occurring in 1974.
Mr. Penn believes climate change is the defining challenge of the 2020’s.
“Climate change is a shared challenge that impacts our economy, our environment, our communities and each of us individually,” he states. ” If ever there was a moment for bolder and more significant action on climate change it is now.”