New centre to aid corporate power deals

AUSTRALIA: The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) has helped launch a new A$1.74 million (US$1.24 million) company to aid corporations in the country to procure renewables.

The Business Renewables Centre will help corporations secure power purchase agreements with renewable projects
The Business Renewables Centre will help corporations secure power purchase agreements with renewable projects

The Business Renewables Centre will be operated by WWF Australia, the Institute for Sustainable Futures from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), and innovation hub Climate-KIC Australia.

It has also received A$500,000 in funding from Arena on behalf of the federal government, with a further A$150,000 from both the New South Wales and Victoria provincial governments.

The model is based on the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Centre in the US.

"The project aims to make it easier for Australian corporates and local councils to purchase or procure renewable energy through corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs)," according to Arena.

Stuart White, director at the UTS institute said: "There’s a lot of interest in renewable energy PPAs, but they are new to Australia and the key decision makers often lack the information they need.

"We will be applying a model that has been successful in the US to give companies the tools and resources they need to make the shift to renewable energy."

In will include an online resource centre and a "marketplace platform", as well as face-to-face support at industry events.

It has a target of getting 1GW of installed renewable energy bought by corporate customers by 2022, and 5GW by 2030.

"The future for energy is a large number of smaller renewable generating facilities often developed by non-generating entities," said Arena CEO Darren Miller.

"The Business Renewables Centre will help in that transition by using its vast expertise in running programmes, entrepreneurship, innovation, education and other sustainability objectives to make it easier for companies and councils to enter into the renewables market," he said.

The Clean Energy Council said it had signed on as a founding member of the centre.

Its chief executive Kane Thornton commented: "We will work with the Business Renewables Centre to untap the true potential of this market, bringing our members’ experience to the table and helping to bridge the gap between renewable energy developers and corporate customers.

"Interest from businesses in purchasing renewable energy is rising, but as some of the early adopters of power purchase agreement have found, it can be a complex and time-consuming process," Thornton added.

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