The agreement will secure Telstra a portion of Ark Energy’s output from the MacIntyre Wind Farm in southeast Queensland – set to be one of the world’s largest onshore wind farms.
Kim Krogh Andersen, Telstra group executive – product & technology, said the agreement built on previous significant investments Telstra has made in solar parks, wind farms and carbon farming.
“We have now supported more than $1 billion of renewable energy projects across Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales,” he said.
“When these projects are fully operational, our share of their renewable energy output will be more than two-thirds of our consumption, a long way toward our target of 100 per cent by 2025.”
Krogh Andersen said the development of renewable energy projects would not only reduce Australia’s reliance on carbon-intensive fossil fuels, but these investments also made economic sense.
“These projects are a sound investment in a sustainable future. They provide affordable and reliable energy and they create jobs for regional communities,” he said.
“Agreements like this one also help insulate Telstra from fluctuating wholesale electricity prices. Our annual power bill is equivalent to 300,000 household power bills, so signing long-term renewable energy agreements helps us to manage our costs.
“We have more work to do to achieve our target. Encouragingly, we are seeing a range of good opportunities in the local renewable market and we’re looking forward to partnering with more high-quality generators to secure the long-term success of their projects.”
Daniel Kim, CEO of Ark Energy, which owns a 30% stake in the MacIntyre Wind Farm, said this agreement with Telstra underscored Ark Energy’s commitment to support large commercial and industrial customers decarbonise and accelerate the energy transition.
“We are delighted to be working together with Telstra on this landmark project and play a tangible role in helping the telco achieve its ambitious renewable energy target,” he said.
Krogh Andersen said tackling climate change was an urgent, enormous challenge and entering into renewable power purchase agreements was just one example of the very tangible actions Telstra was taking which would have a real impact on decarbonising Australia’s economy.
“We achieved carbon neutral status in 2020. We remain the largest carbon neutral certified organisation in Australia under the Government’s Climate Active program and we’re sharing the lessons we’ve learned along the way with other organisations,” he said.
“We are also committed to helping grow and mature the Australian carbon credit market. We are investing in innovative land management methods to accelerate carbon sequestration at scale. We hope the technologies and approaches we’re piloting at our carbon farm in northern NSW will benefit regional communities and ecosystems.
“Australia has a clear opportunity to be a global renewable energy and carbon market superpower. Now is the moment to seize these opportunities and Telstra is excited to be a part of this change.”
The agreement between the two organisations is subject to Ark Energy finalising their financial arrangements. The 923.4 MW MacIntyre Wind Farm is part of ACCIONA Energía’s MacIntyre Wind Precinct and is the largest wind farm in Australia.
The precinct is expected to require a workforce of around 400 people over the life of the precinct and generate economic activity across the Goondiwindi, Southern Downs and Toowoomba Regional Council areas. With 180 turbines, the wind precinct will produce a total of 1,026 MW of renewable electricity, enough to power the equivalent of 700,000 homes.