NSW councils sign up for Moree solar farm to slash electricity costs


A group of councils in NSW have signed up to take the output from the Moree solar farm to slash their electricity bills by around one third from the middle of next year.
The 18 councils – mostly Sydney based and united under the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils Inc (SSROC) says the landmark agreement with Origin Energy and Moree will deliver “significant” cost savings of up to 35 per cent.
Moree was one of the first large scale solar farms built in Australia, and the first to feature single axis tracking technology – something that has become standard in virtually every large scale installation that has followed.
Origin Energy signed a long term power purchase agreement with Moree, and is now using that output to sign a power purchase agreement with the councils united under SSROC out to 2030 and at the same time looking after the balance of their electricity needs.
“This innovative approach, achieved through a renewable energy Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), allows councils to purchase renewable electricity without exposure to the volatility of the National Electricity Market (NEM),” SSROC said in a statement.
“The renewable energy PPA will provide councils with significant cost savings compared to the current market while also reducing their carbon emissions.” Around 440,000 MWh of renewable energy will be supplied to the councils over the life of agreement.
Councils will be able to procure their renewable energy requirements at a fixed price and will also have the opportunity to approach the market again in three years to increase their offtake of renewable energy.
Mayor of Burwood Council and SSROC President, Councillor John Faker said,
“This is a huge achievement by local government,” Burwood Council mayor and SSROC president John Faker said in a statement.
“Councils will save money, lower their risk and reduce their carbon emissions. It will also give a much-needed boost to the renewable energy industry in NSW. It is a major part of the regional Renewable Energy Master Plan, Our Energy Future.”
Origin Energy’s head of Energy Supply and Operations, Greg Jarvis said a growing number of customers are actively choosing renewable energy.
“SSROC came to us wanting a cost effective renewable energy solution,” he said in a statement. “Origin has structured an agreement that gives these councils solar power from Moree Solar Farm during the day and firm generation at other times to cover demand around the clock”.
Numerous councils around the country are looking to wind and solar to reduce their electricity costs, or to help meet ambitious renewable energy targets. Some, like the Sunshine Coast council in Queensland, have  built their own solar farms, such as the 15MW Valdora facility.
You can listen to an interview with Origin’s Jarvis in the latest episode of the Energy Insiders podcast.
The councils in the agreements are Bayside, Campbelltown, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, Georges River, Hunters Hill, Inner West, Ku-Ring Gai, Liverpool, North Sydney, Parramatta, Randwick, Ryde, Singleton, Sutherland Shire, Waverley, Willoughby and Woollahra.

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