Telstra dials up its renewable energy commitment


Australia’s largest telecommunications provider, Telstra has secured a long-term power purchase agreement to source energy from the $100 million, 58 MW extension of the Crookwell wind farm being developed by Global Power Generation (GPG).

While the term and size of the PPA was not revealed, the telco giant confirmed it will pay a fixed price for the majority of all the energy produced by the wind farm over the term of the agreement with GPG to sell the remaining energy into the market themselves.

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said the deal, which follows the signing of off-take agreements with the 226 MW Murra Warra Wind Farm near Horsham in Victoria and the 70 MW Emerald Solar Park in Queensland, marked a continuation of the company’s transition to 100% renewable electricity by 2025.

“When this wind farm starts production in mid-2023, we will be more than halfway to our goal,” he said in a statement.

“Crookwell 3 joins our stable of renewable energy investments, and when combined with Murra Warra Wind Farm and Emerald Solar Farm, will supply more than 150,000 homes’ worth of non-renewable electricity consumption each year.

“By 2025, our plan means we will own or contract renewable energy generation equivalent to 100% of the energy we consume in all of our operations. That includes running our network, buildings and data centres.”

Telstra has also sourcing energy from solar farms.

Image: MPower

Penn said the deal reinforced Telsta’s commitment to addressing climate change, saying that as one of the biggest energy users in the nation the company had a responsibility to lead the way.

“We cannot live in hope that this climate challenge will solve itself,” he said.

“Big businesses like Telstra have a responsibility to be good climate citizens, to have a strategy and to set an example for others.

“As one of the biggest energy users in the nation, it matters when we take action to both decarbonise our operations and clean up the grid for the future.

“The Crookwell project is an important part of Telstra’s renewable journey and will help drive us toward reducing our absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2030.

The PPA announcement comes on the same day that Greenpeace Australia Pacific revealed Telstra was leading the way for Australian telcos, data centres and tech companies in the race to renewables.

The new Greenpeace report found that Telstra, Australia’s 14th biggest electricity user overall, is leading the way, closely followed by TPG Telecom, which owns major brands such as Vodafone and iiNet, and has also vowed to be 100% renewable by 2025.

While Optus, the nation’s second largest telco, is missing from the least due to it having set no renewable electricity target to date, Greenpeace REenergise campaign director Lindsay Soutar said telecommunications is fast emerging as one of the leading industries in Australia’s renewable energy transition.

“As this new ranking reveals, some Australian telcos and tech companies, such as Telstra and TPG Telecom, are on a super-fast stream to clean energy. But some of the local tech industry is still buffering, with big players such as Optus and NextDC yet to say yes to a 100% renewable electricity target,” she said.

Greenpeace said Telcos and IT services consume approximately 4% of Australia’s electricity – equivalent to about 580,000 homes.

Crookwell 3 is expected to come on line in 2023.

Image: GRG

The Crookwell 3 Wind Farm is being developed by GPG, a 75-25 joint venture between Spain’s Naturgy Energy Group and the Kuwait Investment Authority.

The project, being constructed alongside the existing 91 MW Crookvale 2 Wind Farm in the NSW Southern Tablelands, will take GPG’s renewable capacity in the Australia to more than 700 MW.

Included in GPG’s Australian portfolio is a quartet of wind farms in Victoria including  Berrybank Stage 1 (180 MW) which the company said is close to operational, Berrybank Stage-2 (107 MW), Ryan Corner (218 MW) and Hawkesdale (97 MW), which are all under development.

The company said in a statement it also has a project pipeline of more than 600 MW in the Australia and aims to become one of the main independent renewable operators in the country in the next three years, reaching a total capacity of more than 1.3 GW.

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