Taronga hit renewables target with new energy deal


The Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoo in New South Wales (NSW) are now being powered by 100% renewable energy after the Taronga Conservation Society Australia signed a five-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Red Energy, the energy retailer owned by Snowy Hydro.

Taronga said the TrueGreen deal, which comprises 100% renewable energy matched with 100% renewable large-scale generation certificates (LGCs), means the operational electricity use at the Taronga Zoo, located on the shores of Sydney Harbour, and the Taronga Western Plans Zoo near Dubbo in central west NSW, are now being powered by 100% renewable electricity.

The renewable energy is being provided by British-headquartered solar developer Lightsource BP’s 174 MW Wellington Solar Farm, located about 50 kilometres southeast of Dubbo. The facility came online in 2020 and is now operating at full capacity, generating approximately 435,000 MWh of clean electricity a year with most of the output contracted by the federal government-owned Snowy Hydro via a 15-year PPA.

While the solar farm has been providing 100% renewable electricity to power the zoos’ operations since the start of the year, Taronga said the intermittent nature of solar supply means the electricity may at times be firmed with Red Energy’s hydro assets.

Taronga Conservation Society Australia Chief Executive Officer Cameron Kerr said the switch to Red Energy has allowed the not-for-profit organisation to achieve its target to be powered by 100% renewable electricity before 2030 well ahead of schedule.

Kerr said the transition means the zoos will avoid approximately 7,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year, but more importantly, clean energy is a step towards helping secure a future for all animals.

“Climate change is a key threatening process that has an impact on many of Australia’s unique flora and fauna, and wildlife across the globe,” he said. “More than 1,900 species in Australia are on the brink of extinction and climate change is accelerating this process. However, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind emit little to no greenhouse gas, which is the biggest contributor to climate change.”

The deal with Red Energy is just the latest action from Taronga in its sustainability journey. Taronga has more than 500 kW of solar panels installed across the two sites in Sydney and Dubbo, conducted recent energy audits with the view to implement further efficiencies and savings and has also implemented policies for low-emissions new buildings.

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