City awards 100 per cent renewable contract

22 Oct 2019

City of Newcastle will become the first local government in NSW to move to 100 per cent renewable electricity after awarding a tender to purchase power from the state’s largest windfarm.

A 10-year power purchase agreement (PPA) was awarded today to energy retailer Flow Power for the equivalent of all the City’s operational needs from the Sapphire Wind Farm in the New England region.

The accepted tender, which follows Council’s August resolution to make the switch to renewables when existing supply contracts expire, stands to save rate payers around $1.8 million over the 10-year contract.

“From 1 January, the City will become the first local government in NSW to purchase enough renewable electricity to meet 100 per cent of our operational electricity requirements,” Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“This means enough clean energy will be put into the grid to power every sportsground floodlight, local library, park-BBQ and any other facility Council operates.

“Drawing all our energy needs from renewables is a significant achievement for the City and our mission to make our operations more sustainable and cost effective.

“Around 70 per cent of the respondents to a recent community survey supported this move, ranking renewables as one of their highest priority measures to reduce impacts on the environment.”

Flow Power CEO Matthew van der Linden said organisations like City of Newcastle were “leading the transition to a new energy future”.

“We’re thrilled to see the uptake of renewable deals like these grow in the Hunter Region, as proven by City of Newcastle and Molycop earlier this year,” Mr van der Linden said.

“We see this as a long-term partnership, which will not only support City of Newcastle but also, have significant broader impacts for the local region.”

The City already uses half a megawatt of solar energy generated on the roofs of 10 of its facilities, including Newcastle Museum, with an additional five megawatts to come from the solar farm at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre.

Located 18km west of Glen Innes, CWP Renewables’ Sapphire Wind Farm generates enough energy to power around 115,000 homes annually. The facility is part of a 1,300-megawatt wind, solar and battery portfolio the Newcastle-based firm is building across Australia.

Sapphire also supplies locally based industrial products manufacturer Molycop, which became one of the biggest buyers of renewable energy in Australia when it signed a PPA with Flow Power earlier this year.

The City will join the University of Newcastle in switching over to renewables on 1 January and follow the lead of other progressive Australian organisations, including the University of NSW, CBA, Westpac, Monash University and Melbourne University.