The owners of Australia’s largest privately owned shopping centre have inked a deal with CEP.Energy which will see the renewable energy fund install, own and operate a rooftop solar and battery storage microgrid at the Narellan Town Centre.
The network is set to be developed in stages and when complete will include a 50,000 square metre array of solar modules delivering 10 MW of renewable energy supported by a 20 MWh battery storage system.
CEP.Energy CEO Peter Wright said the 30-year lease agreement provided owners and tenants in the 76,000 square metre facility with a total renewable energy solution.
“Embedded renewable energy networks offer long-term benefits to landlords, tenants, investors and the community,” he said. “NTC’s retail customers can expect to save about 20% on their electricity bills.”
The move by Dart West Retail, the owners of the Narellan Town Centre, towards renewables comes just days after the nation’s largest shopping centre, Vicinity Centres’ Fashion Capital in Chadstone, announced it will be adding 1.6 MW solar system as part of a multimillion-dollar upgrade.
The Narellan Town Centre agreement is the latest addition to CEP.Energy’s secured property portfolio which includes existing buildings totalling more than 10 million square metres.
Wright said CEP.Energy – which finances, builds, owns and operates renewable energy microgrids and virtual power plants in partnership with property portfolio groups – is aiming to have 1.5 GW of solar and 1 GW of battery energy storage providing a steady flow of low-cost energy for commercial, retail and industrial tenants across the country within five years.
Supermarket giant in spotlight
Among the tenants at Narellan Town Centre is supermarket giant Coles which continues to come under fire for lagging in the switch towards renewable energy.
The nation’s 12th largest energy user, consuming around 1% of the country’s electricity, Coles is the only major Australian supermarket that has not yet made the switch to 100% renewable electricity, following recent commitments by rivals Woolworths and ALDI to source all of their electricity needs from renewable energy by 2025.
Coles has made significant steps towards the transition, signing two major deals with wind and solar farms in New South Wales and Queensland – enough to cover 30% of the company’s electricity consumption, but a new poll shows nearly three quarters of Australian shoppers want the supermarket chain to switch to 100% renewable electricity.
The polling, carried out by UComms and commissioned by Greenpeace, found 73.4% of respondents think Coles should follow Woolworths and ALDI’s lead.
Lindsay Soutar, director of REenergise, a Greenpeace campaign calling on big businesses to switch to 100% renewable energy, said the poll results were a clear message to Coles that it’s time to flick the switch on the energy transition.
“The message from Australian shoppers is loud and clear – they want Coles to commit to 100% renewable energy, like its supermarket rivals Woolworths and ALDI,” she said.
“Coles is already running 30% of its operations on renewable energy and it wouldn’t take long for them to take the lead in the supermarket race to renewables.
“This year we’ve seen some of Australia’s biggest businesses, from Bunnings to Telstra, commit to 100% renewable energy. It’s time for Coles to up their ambition in the retail renewables revolution, or risk being left behind.”
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