A group of prominent Melbourne universities, factories and other businesses have landed a major deal to power their operations with wind energy – the second such contract facilitated by the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project.
The deal will source a total of 110 gigawatt hours a year of wind energy for the buyers, with most of this to come from the 29MW Yaloak wind farm near Bacchus Marsh that is owned by Pacific Hydro, and the rest from other regional wind projects in Victoria.
The purchasing group includes seven large energy users – RMIT University, Deakin University, Cbus Property, ISPT, and manufacturers Fulton Hogan, Citywide Asphalt, and Mondelez International – along with another 27 smaller buyers, including shopping centres, office buildings and manufacturing facilities.
Mohamed Shalaby, the head of integrated supply chains at Mondelez International, says the deal means it will be using 100 per cent renewable electricity for its two Melbourne factories that make products for Cadbury and The Natural Confectionery Company.
“The shift to 100 per cent renewable electricity in Victoria represents a more than 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from the total electricity used to make our products in Australia,” he said.
Deakin University said the 14GWh that it will source from the deal will account for 25 per cent of its annual electricity use and would be an important part of its strategy to reach 100 per cent renewables and achieve a target of being carbon neutral by 2025.
It is the second group contract put together by MREP, with the first seeing Melbourne City Council lead a group that agreed to buy 88GWh of wind output, a deal that led to the construction of the 80MW Crowlands wind farm near Ararat.
“Combined, the two projects represent the equivalent of a five per cent reduction in the city’s emissions, and a tangible shift towards renewable energy in the national grid,” the Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood said in a statement.
“The agreement starts next month and most of the wind power will be produced at the Yaloak South Wind Farm near Ballan, with the remaining energy coming from other wind farm projects in regional Victoria.”
Tango Energy will be the retailer to facilitate the delivery of the ten-year contract.
Wood said renewable energy investments can and should play a significant role in supporting our economic recovery from COVID-19, and buying wind power made economic sense.
“The MREP2 project allows the buying group to lock in price certainty,” he said. “So it’s not only good for our planet, but great for the hip pocket.”
Earlier this year, the City of Melbourne moved to fast-track a range of initiatives to further reduce its carbon emissions, including reaching Council’s zero emissions target for the municipality 10-years earlier by 2040, after declaring a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency in 2019. It has already reduced emissions from the City of Melbourne’s operations by more than 50 per cent in six years.
The head of property services and procurement at RMIT, Chris Hewison, said leading the buying group represented a big step towards its target of being carbon neutral by 2030, and said it had benefitted from the economy of scale through the group procurement process.
Fulton Hogan Infrastructure Services CEO Matthew MacMahon said the deal meant that all its quarries, asphalt plants and blending facilities across Victoria would be powered with renewable energy.