Mt Gellibrand wind farm to help power Geelong oil refinery

Geelong fuel refiner and retailer Viva Energy will source around one-third of its annual energy needs from locally generated renewables, through a power purchase agreement with one of Victoria’s largest wind farms, the 132MW Mt Gellibrand.
Viva – which supplies around one-quarter of Australia’s liquid fuel needs, and is the exclusive licensee of Shell in Australia – said on Tuesday that it had signed a PPA with the wind farm’s owner operator, Acciona, to source around 100GWh of electricity a year, for an undisclosed price.

The two companies said the off-take deal, while only announced this week, was secured and underway in January – supplying the Corio refinery with wind power from the nearby Mt Gellibrand, where the first of 44 turbines started spinning last June.
In a statement on Tuesday, Viva Energy chief Scott Wyatt said access to reliable and affordable electricity was critical for the refinery’s operations.

Acciona’s Brett Wickham and Viva Energy’s Thys Heyns. Image: Supplied

“Over the last few years the cost of electricity supply in Victoria has more than doubled and has become increasingly subject to pricing spikes due to weather and reliability events causing disruptions to generation and supply,” he said.
“Our research has shown that renewable energy is very competitive with existing sources of generation and can be a viable and sustainable part of the energy mix for a business like ours.
“This agreement with Acciona is a win-win outcome for us both as it helps lock in a stable electricity price over the long term, while supporting a local renewable energy source not far from the refinery.”
Acciona Energy Australia managing director Brett Wickham also welcomed the PPA.
“Companies like Viva Energy understand the value alternative energy supply solutions, such as this wind-backed corporate PPA, offer in reducing electricity price volatility and costs,” he said.
Construction of Acciona’s $258 million Mt Gellibrand wind farm was fast-tracked in 2017 through an early Andrews government tender designed to reboot renewables investment in the state, and side-step a capital strike by major utilities.
At a turning of the sod ceremony at the wind farm’s site in April 2017, Acciona managing director Andrew Thomson said the company expected to see Mt Gellibrand “pouring” clean energy into the grid within about 15 months, it time for booming demand for renewable power generation.

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