Queensland’s Yurika inks deal to install 15MW of solar on shopping centres

A deal struck between Queensland government-owned utility Yurika Energy and QIC Global Real Estate will see a total of 15MW of rooftop solar installed across five major shopping centre sites across the state.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the deal on Wednesday in a speech to the Stimulus Summit, an online webinar co-hosted by RenewEconomy and the Smart Energy Council.

In a statement, QIC GRE said the solar rollout would make Queensland’s largest bulky goods shopping centre, Domain Central, fully energy self-sufficient within three years, and reduce grid electricity consumption by up to 30% across the portfolio of retail assets.

“Yurika Energy’s Smart Connected Solar technology, coupled with the substantial physical footprint of our portfolio of Australian retail assets will deliver significant efficiencies and large-scale renewable energy supply,” said QIC GRE managing director Michael O’Brien.

“This renewable-energy-as-a-service approach will provide reliable, clean energy for our centres and our retail partners, significantly lowering the carbon footprint of our Australian retail portfolio and reducing grid electricity consumption by up to ~30% across the portfolio.”

As RenewEconomy editor Giles Parkinson explained here, Yurika is an “arms-length” Queensland government entity, born out of necessity to deal with “ring fencing” issues that limits the ability of state-owned network operators to invest in storage and deal directly with customers.

Yurika also operates the state’s demand management incentive scheme, which at the start of last year had some 135MW of combined capacity and entered the market on at least 60 occasions.

Yurika Executive General Manager Carly Irving said on Wednesday that the commercial and industrial real estate sector was actively investing in ‘behind the meter’ generation technology, energy management and building automation to transform assets towards a more sustainable footprint.

“The five sites are the first phase of a long-term partnership with QIC, with the potential to support QIC with emerging opportunities in energy such as the evolution of their embedded networks, EV charging services, Virtual Power Plants and the addition of technology such as batteries in the future,” she said.

“This landmark partnership is enabled by our ongoing focus on continuous improvement in ESG performance across our Australian retail portfolio, in alignment with QIC GRE’s investor-endorsed strategy, and assists us in our active pursuit of achieving net zero emissions,” O’Brien added.

“The implementation of a national solar program also builds on our long-term relationship with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), to drive improved sustainability performance, which has assisted in the delivery of other tangible sustainability improvements, such as upgrades and automation of centre HVAC plant and equipment and the installation of LED lights.”

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