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Council go green in long-term power purchase agreement

December 20, 2022 8:58 am in by

Bega Valley Shire Council has taken a major step towards securing a reliable, renewable, and affordable energy package by signing a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a group of NSW councils.

The agreement signed by six other councils and NSW energy retailer, Red Energy will provide a cost-effective way for Bega Valley Shire Council to meet its 100% renewable energy target by 2030.

CEO Anthony McMahon said the PPA takes a big step towards reaching goals in Council’s Climate Resilience Plan.

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“Our renewable energy and net zero carbon emissions targets are on track thanks to this demonstration of what can be achieved by joining forces with other councils with similar needs,” Mr McMahon said.

“Importantly, the 10-year agreement also shields us from an increasingly volatile electricity market by locking us into an agreed rate.

“A Procurement Australia Tender Evaluation Report found PPA members will collectively save millions of dollars in energy costs by securing power supply from a reliable and affordable renewable energy source.

“Starting on the first day of the New Year Bega Valley Shire Council will transition to powering its large assets, streetlights and smaller sites from the Metz Solar Farm, a 430-hectare facility near Armidale, NSW.

“In real terms this means our greenhouse gas emissions across the board will be significantly reduced. We calculate a reduction of approximately 5045 tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030, which is the same as removing 1100 cars off the road.

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“From backing one of Australia’s first community solar farms at Tathra in 2015, to this pivotal moment of securing a reliable supply or renewable power, we are fully committed to meeting our targets and the community’s needs.”

The electricity will be supplied to all member councils by Red Energy which is wholly owned by Snowy Hydro.

Acting Snowy Hydro CEO, Roger Whitby said the PPA shows what can be achieved when organisations join forces to achieve great outcomes for the environment and economy.

“Snowy Hydro is renewable energy. It’s the root of how our company was founded in 1949,” Mr Whitby said.

“These seven councils will soon be running their most power-hungry assets on renewable energy thanks to Procurement Australia expertly facilitating an agreement that delivers on sustainability and great outcomes.

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“It’s particularly satisfying working with councils from our region and to see the level of commitment from these organisations in terms of emissions reductions and providing for their communities.”

Mr McMahon said approximately 90% of Council’s energy use will immediately transfer to the new power supply from 1 January 2023.

“Beyond this, we will move more assets to renewable power until we reach our 100% target by 2030,” Mr McMahon said.

The Power Purchase Agreement is co-signed by Bega Valley Shire Council, Wingecarribee Shire Council, Albury City, Camden Council, Penrith City Council, Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council, and Wollongong City Council.

To learn more about Bega Valley Shire Council’s Climate Resilience Strategy, click HERE.

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Image: Bega Valley Shire Council

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