Monash University has committed to buy green energy from the Murra Warra Wind Farm in Victoria, in a new deal that brings the university into the fold of a powerful consortium of corporate renewable energy buyers, and closer to its target of 100 per cent renewables.
Under the deal, Monash will buy the rights to both electricity and large-scale renewable energy certificates (REC’s) generated by Murra Warra, located some 30km from Horsham.
The long-term power purchase agreement is part of the 226MW first stage of the wind farm, which is currently under construction and expected to be fully operational in 2019.
As we have reported, Murra Warra is already a landmark wind power project for Australia, being the biggest, to date, to be enabled by corporate buyers – the above-mentioned consortium led by Telstra.
And in March this year, Macquarie Group – one of the biggest players in financing renewable energy developments in Europe and the US – took an equity stake in the project, marking its biggest-yet push into the domestic market.
Macquarie, along with developer RES Australia, has also committed to developing the 203MW second stage of the wind power project.
The new off-take deal adds yet more corporate muscle to the Telstra-led buying group – including ANZ, Coca Cola Amatil and the University of Melbourne – that in December secured a long-term contract for the output from Murra Warra.
At the time of the deal, Telstra described the price as “stunning” – it is believed to have been in line with the also stunning sub-$55/MWh price negotiated by Origin Energy earlier this year for the 530MW Stockyard Hill.
“Adding Monash to the consortium further strengthens the buying group for the Murra Warra Wind Farm and we welcome them to the project,” said James Gerraty, head of Telstra Energy.
“We’ll continue to look for ways to use our expertise in this area to help more of Australia’s businesses and organisations meet their energy challenges.”
For Monash, the deal will help to achieve the university’s targets of 100 per cent renewables, and of net zero emissions by 2030.
“This procurement of off-site renewable energy marks an important step towards our goal,” said Monash sustainable development planner Kendra Wasiluk.
“It will reduce our carbon footprint and allow the University to manage its exposure to volatile energy prices,” Dr Wasiluk said.
Monash is well down the path of 100 per cent renewables, having already installed enough solar across its campuses to power 250 average Australian households.
It has also fitted more than 6000 super-efficient LED lights and all new buildings are eliminating natural gas.
At the University’s Clayton campus, an on-site microgrid is being built to help control when and how energy is used, and to support the broader grid during times of peak power demand.
“Along with ongoing improvements in energy efficiency, we are electrifying all of our buildings, paving the way for Monash to be 100% powered by clean renewable wind and solar energy,” Dr Wasiluk said.