Australia’s national scientific agency, CSIRO, has announced a 10-year clean energy Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Ross Garnaut’s Sunshot owned Zen Energy. The deal is set to halve the agency’s electricity-sourced CO2 emissions and according to CSIRO it is the largest PPA yet signed by a Commonwealth Government agency.
In The Way of Zen, Alan Watts tells us that Zen is not a religion or a philosophy, nor even a psychology or a science – it is a way of liberation. In this way, the transition to renewable energy is a zen transition, for it is liberation from the fossil fuel fetters of finitude and into a present and future of renewable infinitude, the only way to self-sufficiency. No doubt the CSIRO is on the way of zen through this PPA utilising the 128 MW Nurmurkah Solar Farm in Victoria and and the 132 MW Nevertire Solar Farm in NSW.
These renewable sources will now electrify 26 CSIRO-managed research sites in ACT, NSW, and Victoria, including the legendary Parkes Observatory, and the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness in Geelong, a key research centre in the fight against Covid-19.
“This is a very significant step towards being net-zero in our operations,” said CSIRO Director of Business and Infrastructure Services, Dave Agnew, and is in line with our broader remit to help Australia navigate to a low emissions future.”
The deal also follows the completed rollout of 5 MW of solar PV across 10 CSIRO sites nationwide in recent times.
The way of zen
British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta, owner of Whyalla steelworks, sold Zen Energy back to Australian economist Professor Ross Garnaut in August. According to the ABC, Garnaut said at the time of the deal that Zen Energy would “look forward to partnering with new utility-scale renewable energy projects across the country to enable us to supply 100% renewable energy at low cost and high reliability to our growing customer base.” The PPA with CSIRO demonstrates that Zen Energy is doing exactly what Garnaut said it would.
We’re delighted to have been selected by the @CSIRO as its electricity retailer across three states for the next 10 years. This landmark agreement demonstrates that 100 percent renewable energy can be highly competitive in price and reliability. https://t.co/WcMqy9unRM
— ZEN Energy (@ZENenergyau) September 29, 2020
Interestingly, the PPA is not the limit of the partnership between CSIRO and Zen Energy, as the pair are also looking to collaborate on scientific projects in renewable energy.
“We aspire to be an organisation that promotes and demonstrates sustainable operations and practices that are consistent with our science and innovation impact,” said Agnew finally. “As a world leader in sustainability research, CSIRO is committed to innovate science and technology that reduces emissions and global climate change impacts.”
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