Bringing together councils, universities & companies to support clean energy

Pioneered by City of Melbourne, participants of the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project combined their renewable energy demand to support a new renewable energy development.

By

Crowlands Wind Farm marked the first time in Australia that a group of Melbourne’s most iconic organisations, cultural institutions, universities and corporations have combined their purchasing power to support the construction of a new renewable energy facility, by forming the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project. The wind farm, approximately 25km north east of Ararat in central Victoria, will comprise 39 Senvion wind turbines. Construction of the project is underway with completion anticipated in mid-2019.

Crowlands Wind Farm is being developed by Pacific Hydro, a long standing NAB client and global renewable energy owner, operator and developer. Pacific Hydro operates a high quality, diversified portfolio with an installed capacity of ~960 MW across Australia, Chile and Brazil and they have been a builder, owner and operator of renewables in Australia for over 25 years.

Aside from being the financier for Crowlands, NAB is also one of the entities purchasing power from the wind farm. The consortium consists of a group of 14 customers who have combined their renewable energy demand to support a new renewable energy development. The consortium was pioneered by City of Melbourne and spans local governments, cultural institutions, universities and corporations across Melbourne. The project took the concept to the market in 2016, and Pacific Hydro along with its electricity retailer Tango Energy, won the tender with its proposal for Crowlands Wind Farm. The consortium will purchase 88 gigawatt hours of power a year, approximately one-third of Crowlands’ output and enough to power 17,000 homes.

For NAB, joining the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project will assist us in meeting our commitment to source 50 per cent of our Australian energy from renewable sources by 2025, as well as manage our electricity price exposure.

Over 2018, we have seen an increasing level of interest from corporate entities looking to enter into Power Purchase Agreements directly with renewable energy generators. The main drivers from this focus are twofold:

1. to hedge against rising energy prices and more actively manage price risk; and
2. to clearly demonstrate an organisation’s commitment to sustainability.

This has been made possible due to the continuing declining costs of renewable energy over the past five years, against a backdrop of increasing wholesale electricity prices, meaning Corporate Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) are now a viable consideration for an increasing number of corporates.

Other renewable energy projects NAB has project financed that have benefited from Corporate PPAs include Emerald Solar Farm, Haughton Solar Farm, Lal Lal Wind Farm and Sunraysia Solar Farm.

This article was first published in 2019 Outlook Creating Opportunities. Read more articles from the magazine.

Speak to a specialist