Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Queensland government-owned energy generator Stanwell which will supply up to 185 GWh of renewable energy a year to help power the airport’s operations.
The renewable energy will be contracted from the 200 MW Blue Grass Solar Farm being developed near Chinchilla in Queensland’s Western Downs region by Spanish renewables company X-Elio.
Stanwell will also source renewable energy from the 800 MW Clarke Creek wind project being built by Windlab northwest of Rockhampton in central Queensland. The project is part of a larger 1.2 GW project which will also comprise 400 MW of solar power and battery energy storage.
Stanwell will take 346.5 MW from the 450 MW first stage generation of the wind farm and has signed an agreement with X-Elio for 49 MW of the output from the Blue Grass Solar Farm.
Brisbane Airport Corporate chief executive Gert-Jan de Graaff said the six-year PPA would dramatically accelerate BAC’s sustainability target, allowing it to meet its commitment to be net zero for scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2025, 25 years earlier than originally planned.
“This clean energy deal delivers on Brisbane Airport Corporation’s commitment to be a sustainable world-leading airport city,” he said.
BAC, which operates its own electricity distribution network across Brisbane Airport, supplying more than 500 businesses with power, has also announced plans to install another 5 MW solar system at the airport.
BAC is already producing solar energy from a 5.725 MW solar system which was installed in 2019. The existing system generates close to 18% of the company’s annual energy consumption.
“But this is just the beginning,” de Graaff said. “Soon we will transition the rest of our fleet vehicles to electric and continue to look at new opportunities to decrease our carbon emissions and that includes researching the development of an on-site blue carbon removal project within our 285-hectare biodiversity zone.”
The BAC offtake deal is the first renewable energy contract signed by Stanwell, which has historically been known for its coal-fired energy generation, but chief executive officer Michael O’Rourke said the deal would be the first of many for the company’s retail arm, Stanwell Energy.
“This is the first of many renewable energy options Stanwell Energy will be offering to support our commercial and industrial customers meet their decarbonisation requirements,” he said, before adding that the evolving market and consumer expectations make it imperative to diversify one’s generation portfolio.
Queensland Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said the deal marked a major milestone towards cutting energy emissions in the sunshine state by 90% by 2035.
“From small businesses to big corporate companies like Brisbane Airport, they all have one thing in common – they want access to cleaner, cheaper energy,” de Brenni said. “I am confident this will be the first of many renewable energy contracts made by Stanwell, as they and our other government-owned generators and retailers play their role in the state’s energy transformation.”
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