City leaders collaborate towards zero emissions

A group of Melbourne’s most prominent universities and businesses has secured a multi-million-dollar deal to power their operations using wind energy.

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 the City of Melbourne through the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project.

‘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 deal is equivalent to providing enough renewable power for more than 22,000 households a year. When you add in MREP 1, that jumps to enough power for 40,000 households a year.’

Tango Energy will provide 110 gigawatt hours of renewable electricity per year to the purchasing group over 10 years.

‘The agreement starts in July 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,’ 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 MREP 1, the MREP 2 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,’ the Deputy Lord Mayor said.

This initiative follows the success of the first Melbourne Renewable Energy Project, which saw Council lead a consortium to purchase 88 gigawatt hours of renewable energy, and led to the construction of an 80 megawatt wind farm at Crowlands, near Ararat in 2018.

The 39-turbine wind farm, owned and operated by Pacific Hydro, now powers town halls, bank branches, universities and street lights across our municipality and delivers surplus renewable energy into the market.

Did you know

All City of Melbourne operations run on electricity sourced from 100 per cent renewable energy, thanks to the first Melbourne Renewable Energy Project. Currently, 21.3 per cent of Victoria’s electricity is sourced from renewable energy.

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 the right policies from State and Federal governments, as well as 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 setting a target of zero net emissions 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.

To find out more about how we are taking bold action in response to the climate and biodiversity emergency, visit Climate Action.

A note from an MREP 2 partner

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 benefited 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.
Chris Hewison
Executive Director of Property Services and Procurement, RMIT