Australian Economy

Australia’s biggest wind and solar hybrid signs supply deal for Woolworths

Australia’s newest, and biggest, wind and solar energy hybrid facility has signed a supply deal with Woolworths, taking the retailer to 100 per cent renewable electricity for its South Australian operations.

The 320MW Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park, near the city of the same name, is owned by the local offshoot of Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, and is working through the commissioning of its 210MW wind component.

It has another 110MW of solar capacity, but is yet to start commissioning on that part of the facility.

The deal with Woolworths, which will account for around 10 per cent of the output of Parep when it is in full production, follows another deal with mining giant BHP, although the scale f that contract has not been revealed.

The Woolworths deal is for the next eight years until the end of 2030, reflecting the shift in power purchase agreements to shorter time-frames, rather than the 10 to 15 year, or even 20 year contracts, that had prevailed previously.

Woolworths says the contract with Parep will provide the equivalent power needs of its near 70 supermarkets, 17 Big W stores and the regional distribution centre in South Australia.

Woolworths says it consumes around one per cent of the country’s total energy use, and says it will replace all its “traditional” energy contracts in other states with “green agreements”. It aims to be powered 100 per cent by renewables across the country by 2025.

South Australia’s grid is already running at an annualised share of 64 per cent renewables, and will likely reach 100 per cent in the next five years, particularly after the new transmission link to NSW is complete.

“South Australia has long been a world leader in renewable energy, paving the way for more businesses to switch to clean energy,” South Australia’s newly elected Labor premier Peter Malinauskas said in a statement.

“This is the way the world is moving. Private capital is now leading the charge in backing clean energy, which presents a big opportunity for South Australian jobs.

“Which is why the State Labor Government is working to ensure we maintain our position as a national leader on renewable energy.”

Woolworths CEO Peter Banducci said South Australia will be the first state where every on e of its sites is powered by green energy.

““South Australia has helped lead the transition to renewable energy in Australia, combining solar, wind and batteries to enable us to make this leap forward in our mission to be powered entirely by renewable sources by 2025,” he said.

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