WA councils to partner for ‘Australian-first’ renewable energy PPA


More than 50 Western Australian (WA) local governments are poised to commit to an Australian-first renewable energy power purchase agreement (PPA) which will allow them to satisfy their electricity demands with 100% renewable energy while providing a path for participants to reduce their overall emissions.

Negotiated by the WA Local Government Association (WALGA), the new aggregated PPA has the potential to deliver 100% renewable power to 51 councils.

WALGA said upon completion, the joint energy purchasing initiative has the potential to be Australia’s largest local government collaboration to purchase clean energy. It is also the first renewables and carbon offset aggregation project to be granted authorisation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

WALGA president Tracey Roberts, mayor of the City of Wanneroo in the northern suburbs of Perth, said the agreement would deliver both the option for 100% renewable energy for the sector’s contestable supply and savings of up to $5 million.

The joint energy purchasing initiative enables the group to purchase energy from WA’s main south-western grid, large- and small-scale generation certificates and Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs).

Under the arrangement, members will pool their demand for energy and jointly purchase it, jointly negotiate terms of supply and jointly manage contracts.

Local governments have until November 18 to formalise their participation in the project.

“The enthusiasm for this project in the sector and the terms that have been achieved for the community are outstanding,” Roberts said.

“There is a genuine appetite in the local government sector to lead the way on zero emissions and the shift to renewable energy is a giant step in the right direction.”

WALGA said the renewable energy will be sourced from the 222 MW Collgar Wind Farm in the state’s southeast as well as the 35.4 MW Albany and 79 MW Emu Downs wind farms.

“Sourcing renewable energy from WA providers was a strong requirement of the sector and further supports the direct benefit to the community in supporting local industry,” Roberts said.

The ACCC has granted authorisation for the purchasing arrangement until 2036.

The WA initiative comes after 46 Victorian councils signed up to a similar deal earlier this year.

The Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership director Portia Odell said the deals show the enormous potential of cities and regions to pool resources and invest in clean energy.

“In July, we saw a staggering 46 Victorian councils partner up to pool their electricity contracts and switch to renewable energy,” she said.

“Forty-five per cent of all Victorian council electricity is now powered by renewable wind energy, and now we’ll see this incredible example of collaboration topped by councils in Western Australia.”

Local governments in New South Wales (NSW) have also committed to partner on a renewable purchasing agreement with Procurement Australia revealing on Tuesday it is progressing a PPA which will see the councils using 100% renewable energy from 2023.

Procurement Australia chief executive Joe Arena said councils already signed to the PPA includes those in the Albury, Wollongong and Bega Valley regions.

“As an organisation, we’re delighted to have such a diverse range of council members join us as part of this first phase of the state-wide PPA,” he said.

“We are committed to providing all NSW participants with a path to achieve their long-term renewable targets.”

Procurement Australia said it will now progress to an industry consultation and product build stage. This will be followed by a request for tender stage in the first quarter of 2022 to secure an energy supplier to meet the specific renewable energy requirements of each council.

The NSW PPA will deliver participants 100% renewable energy via a phased and flexible commencement date commencing in January 2023.

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