A major power purchase agreement (PPA) announced on Thursday by the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC), an association of 11 local councils in Sydney’s southern, eastern and inner west suburbs, will deliver more than 214GWh of renewable energy per year to 25 New South Wales (NSW) councils.
SSROC, which brokered the deal with South Australia-headquartered renewable energy retailer ZEN Energy, said the clean energy will be sourced from the 132MW Nevertire and the 56MW Moree solar farms in the NSW’s northwest and the 120MW Hillston Solar Farm in the state’s southwest.
The PPA includes the supply of electricity to more than 300 major council facilities and more than 3,400 small sites managed by the 25 councils, which collectively represent more than 3 million people, which is almost 38% of the state’s population.
The agreement will commence this year and continue through to 2026, with the option to extend to 2030.
SSROC president and Burwood Council Mayor John Faker said the councils have saved money by buying as a group and had secured a renewable energy deal at the same or lower cost than their existing contracts for traditional fossil-fuel fired power.
“This is a major win for the environment at a time when the world’s focus is on taking solid steps to address climate change,” he said.
“It is a huge demonstration of the commitment of councils to serving their communities, minimising their carbon emissions and growing the economy of NSW.”
SSROC chief executive Helen Sloan said the organisation had been leading the market in advocating for shorter term, lower risk renewable energy supply agreements for councils that can be negotiated at competitive supply rates.
“The approach taken proves that councils can secure competitive pricing and meet their renewable energy targets without having to enter into a long-term agreement,” she said.
SSROC said 83% of the councils’ total electricity supply will be covered by renewable energy from the Nevertire, Moree and Hillston solar farms.
Nineteen of the participating councils have opted for 100% renewable energy under the agreement.
Minister for Local Government Wendy Tuckerman said the collaboration between councils brings NSW one step closer to achieving its net-zero goals.
“Councils working together in this way shows just what all levels of government can achieve in aiming for net-zero emissions and energy security,” she said in a statement.
“This huge investment in NSW will be the foundation of a brighter and cleaner future.”
The participating councils are: Bayside, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canada Bay, Canterbury- Bankstown, Fairfield, Georges River, Hornsby, Hunters Hill, Inner West, Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Liverpool, Mosman, North Sydney, Parramatta, Port Stephens, Randwick, Ryde, Singleton, Sutherland, Tamworth, Waverley, Willoughby Woollahra.
The agreement is the latest in a string of clean energy supply deals signed by Australian councils.
Earlier this month a group of six councils in the NSW Hunter region banded together to broker a 10-year PPA with Sydney-based retailer Mojo Power while Procurement Australia revealed it was progressing an energy supply agreement which will see seven councils in the Albury, Wollongong and Bega Valley regions using 100% renewable energy from 2023.
In December, 48 West Australian (WA) councils signed an agreement with WA energy provider Synergy to source all renewable energy from wind farms at Albany, Emu Downs and Collgar.
The initiative, negotiated by the WA Local Government Association (WALGA), came after more than half of the Victoria’s local councils signed up to a similar deal earlier in 2021.
The Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO) ensured 46 of Victoria’s 79 councils will be powered by renewable energy with Melbourne-based energy retailer Red Energy, an offshoot of the Federal Government-owned Snowy Hydro, signing an agreement to supply the councils with a combined 240GWh of renewable energy each year until the end of 2030.
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