NSW school pioneers renewable PPA to cut power bills

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Ascham School has become the first school in New South Wales, and one of the first in Australia, to sign onto a corporate renewable Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with energy retailer Flow Power. Under this agreement, the day and boarding school for girls located in Edgecliff, the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, will be sourcing 90% of its power from regional wind and solar farms over the next decade.

The environmental, economic and social benefits of such a move are considerable. According to Flow Power, Ascham School will be powered by a combination of wind and solar power in real time, calculated at 30-minute intervals, allowing the school to control and optimise its use of renewable power. The real-time stats provided by the data recorders installed at solar and wind farms will allow Ascham School to understand exactly how and when it uses power and be a teaching aid to use across many subject areas. 

“Late last year we felt pressured by another provider into accepting significantly higher energy retail prices when our three-year agreement with them ended,” Ascham School’s Business Manager Candice Heapes said. “This, along with our growing focus on sustainability as part of our strategic plan, spurred us on to look at alternative options and sources of energy.”

Against the backdrop of a growing number of solar school initiatives and universities across the country turning to solar PV to bring down energy costs, the Australian educational sector is blazing a trail for other big energy consumers looking to quit the grid in a post-subsidy world.

“The education sector is uniquely placed to benefit from corporate renewable PPAs, due to the longevity of its schools and of the PPAs themselves,” said Matthew van der Linden, Managing Director of Flow Power. “We look forward to collaborating with Ascham School throughout the duration of this agreement to deliver an energy solution that evolves to fit the school’s needs.”