City of Melbourne powers up renewable energy deal

A group of prominent Melbourne universities and businesses has secured a multi-million-dollar deal to power their operations using wind energy produced in regional Victoria.

​The purchasing group of seven large energy users includes RMIT University, Deakin University, Cbus Property, ISPT, Fulton Hogan, Citywide Asphalt, and Mondelez International.

Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood said this is the second purchasing agreement facilitated by Council through the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP).

“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 said.

“The new group includes 14 shopping centres, nine office buildings, seven educational campuses, and four manufacturing facilities.

“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 provide 110 GWh of renewable electricity per year to the purchasing group over 10 years.

The initiative follows the successful Melbourne Renewable Energy Project, which saw Council lead a consortium to purchase 88 GWh of renewable energy, and led to the construction of an 80 MW wind farm at Crowlands, near Ararat.

“The deal is equivalent to providing enough renewable power for more than 22,000 households a year. When you add MREP1 that jumps to enough power for 40,000 households a year,” the Deputy Lord Mayor said.

“Renewable energy investments can and should play a significant role in supporting our economic recovery from COVID-19.

“The purchase of renewable energy certainly has a positive environmental impact, but it also makes economic sense. We know the energy market can fluctuate a lot. Like MREP1, the MREP2 project allows the buying group to lock in price certainty. So it’s not only good for our planet, but great for the hip pocket.

“Our partners in the business and education sectors have shown enormous leadership by stepping up to help transition Melbourne to a reliable clean energy future.”

Environment portfolio Chair Cr Cathy Oke said accelerating the transition to renewable energy is key to reducing the municipality’s emissions, but this can only happen with private sector involvement.

“The second Melbourne Renewable Energy Project will reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 123,000 tonnes a year, that’s the equivalent of taking more than 28,000 cars off the road every year,” Cr Oke said.

“It’s also a significant step towards our goal for all of Melbourne to be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy.”

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.

“We have already reduced emissions from the City of Melbourne’s operations by more than 50 per cent in six years and we’re accredited as being carbon neutral – but we must do more, and we can’t do it alone,” Cr Oke said.

As stated by partners:

RMIT Executive Director of Property Services and Procurement, Chris Hewison: “RMIT University is excited to lead the MREP2 buying group, as the project clearly aligns with RMIT’s desire to embed sustainability into all the University’s activities. RMIT’s ongoing involvement in the Renewable Energy Project is an opportunity to demonstrate sustainability leadership in our community while driving significant progress toward our goal to be carbon neutral by 2030. The University has benefitted from the economy of scale through the group procurement process and our united aim to be leaders and champions for impactful change in the communities we serve and beyond.”

Deakin University Chief Operating Officer, Kean Selway: “Deakin University is pleased to be a partner in the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project 2. As one of our core values, we take our commitment to economic, social and environmental sustainability very seriously and as a key part of this, our responsibility in the transition to cleaner energy sources. This project is a very important step in achieving our target of being carbon neutral by 2025 and contributing to a more sustainable future for all.”

Cbus Property Chief Operating Offer, Chris Kakoufas: “Cbus Property is proud to be a member of MREP2, which is a significant milestone in our commitment to achieve Net Zero Carbon by 2030, and to be working alongside and collaborating with other leaders in sustainability.”

ISPT, General Manager, Sustainability and Technical Services, Alicia Maynard: “ISPT takes great care to mitigate and manage the impacts of climate change, and participating in MREP2 is one of the ways we’re helping build positive outcomes for our environment. We’re excited to be collaborating with leading universities and business to support renewable energy in Victoria, in line with ISPT’s responsible investment approach. We’ll be using the knowledge gained from this project to expand the procurement of renewable energy to other cities and states across our portfolio.”

Fulton Hogan Infrastructure Services CEO, Matthew MacMahon: “This project will enable Fulton Hogan to power all of our quarries, asphalt plants and blending facilities right across Victoria with renewable, carbon neutral electricity. This will result in more than 7,000t of carbon removed from the environmental footprint of the products we manufacture, and the roads and infrastructure we build across the state.”

Citywide Asphalt Group Joint Venture (a joint Venture between Citywide and Fulton Hogan), Chairman, Chris Campbell: “Being a foundation member of the second Melbourne Renewable Energy Project is consistent with our strategy to develop a leadership position on sustainability and innovation. Sustainability is a fundamental part of our social licence to operate and is about being responsible and accountable to our stakeholders and the communities we serve.”

Mondelez International Director of Integrated Supply Chain, Mohamed Shalaby: “With brands including Cadbury and the Natural Confectionery Company, we’re incredibly proud of the fact that we make many of Australia’s most loved foods here in Melbourne. We’re committed to reducing the impact of our operations on the planet, and using 100 per cent renewable electricity for the two Melbourne factories that make so many of our popular Cadbury and The Natural Confectionery Company products will play a significant part in reducing our carbon footprint in Australia. We’ve really valued working alongside other businesses that are looking to support the local renewables sector. 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.”

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