Zen Energy inks deal to supply Queensland shopping centres with solar energy from Blue Grass

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Renewable electricity retailer and developer Zen Energy has announced a partnership with ISPT which will lead to a number of commercial properties across Brisbane, Ipswich, the Sunshine and Gold Coasts being powered by renewable energy from 2025.

The energy will be supplied from the X-Elio’s 200 MW Blue Grass Solar Farm in Chinchilla, Queensland, Zen Energy said.

While the companies claim this will lead to the 14 properties being 100% powered by renewable energy, it is unclear, though unlikely, the renewable purchases will be time-matched, meaning their renewable share is likely below 100%. Time matching ensures renewable power is actually used at the time it is generated, but this is far from the standard in Australia, though cognisance and regulations are being introduced in the US and Europe. 

By 2017, Google was matching 100% of the electricity its operations consumed with renewable purchases, giving it RE100 status. However, its own engineers discovered
found the company had used what it calls ‘carbon free energy’ just 66% of 2021 – meaning renewables actually powered its data centres two thirds of the time, while coal and other fossil generation was consumed for the (often night time) difference.

Image: Google

Nonetheless, ISPT estimates the supply deal will see its carbon output reduced by 14,630 tonnes per year. “When the agreement commences, 90% of the electricity needs across our entire portfolio will come from renewables – putting us close to achieving our goal of being 100% powered by renewables by 2025,” ISPT’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Steven Peters, said.

The soon-to-be renewably powered properties in Queensland include Brisbane’s Central Plaza, Wintergarden shopping centre, 19th Avenue Shopping Centre, Barracks at Metroplex, Bracken Ridge Plaza, Caloundra Village, Coolum Village, Deeragun Village, Green Square North Tower, Mango Hill Market Place, Nundah Village, Silkstone Village, Thuringowa Village and 155 Queen Street.

Zen Energy

Zen Energy was founded almost two decades ago, and in 2015 the company’s board gained economist and energy expert Ross Garnaut. The company merged with Sanjeev Gupta’s SIMEC Energy in 2017, although the arrangement was short lived. The name of Garnaut however, has remained, with an executive lineup that now also includes Anthony Garnaut as CEO and Glenn Garnaut as the chief risk officer.

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