Supermarket Wars Renewed – Coles signs 10-year PPA with CleanCo


Queensland (QLD) state-owned clean energy company CleanCo has picked up another big name client following the announcement of BHP earlier this month. From June 2022, Coles Group will source more than 90% of its Queensland electricity requirements from CleanCo through a 10-year power purchase agreement (PPA). 

Coles has been ramping up its clean energy usage recently, having signed a similar 10-year PPA with Metka EGN in New South Wales (NSW) in August 2019, and taking advantage of a 600 kW solar system atop the grocer’s $43 million state-of-the-art ripening facility in Melbourne. 

The QLD PPA will see Coles purchase 400 GWh of electricity each year from the Western Downs Green Power Hub, set to be Australia’s largest solar farm when completed, and the MacIntyre Wind Farm. 

Coles Chief Sustainability, Property and Export Officer, Thinus Keeve, said that Coles is committed to buying more renewable energy around the country. “Long-term agreements like this are a great example of how we are able to reduce our energy costs, support the community and make a meaningful impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Keeve. 

Keeve went on to stress the importance of agreements like that with CleanCo and Metka EGN as renewable energy developers need the certainty of investment from the private sector, after all, they’re certainly not getting it from the federal government. 

CleanCo CEO Dr Maia Schweizer said that providing competitively-priced clean energy to Coles allows CleanCo to create growth and jobs in south-west Queensland associated with its 2025 goal of 1,000 MW of new renewable energy generation. 

Supermarket Wars Renewed 

In the early 1930s, when the world should’ve been focused on the rise of fascism in Europe, Australia was at war with a mob of emus – a war it lost. In more recent decades, Australia has been embroiled in what has been called “The Supermarket Wars,” a bitter but largely nonviolent scuffle that could often see the average punter score a bargain on 2L milk, and the average dairy farmer a coronary. 

In recent times the wars have resumed, but thankfully this time nobody is losing out. That’s because the war is in fact a race, and the race is to the betterment of us all. As the economic rationality of green energy investment becomes glaringly obvious to everyone in Australia except the Morrison Government, the nation’s supermarkets are taking their tussle from the aisles to the arrays. 

Coles’ renewable investments have been treated above, but it should also be said that Woolworths became the world’s first retailer to issue green bonds back in April 2020, and Epho Commercial Solar even went so far as to call in a helicopter to ensure 12 separate rooftops at Woolworths’ massive Norwest Support Office in Bella Vista were all generating solar energy. 

Not to be outdone, Aldi Australia, became the first Australian supermarket to commit to 100% renewable electricity by the end of 2021 when it set that goal last month

Such is this fracas for renewable supremacy that none of us should have any qualms about channeling our schoolyard selves: “Fight! Fight! Fight!” 

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