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HomeLatest NewsBig Wind Energy: First-of-its-kind Power Purchasing Agreement opens to Beaches businesses

Big Wind Energy: First-of-its-kind Power Purchasing Agreement opens to Beaches businesses

Northern Beaches business owners are invited to join forces on a long-term green energy deal through a partnership between Business Green Energy and Northern Beaches Council.

The first-of-its-kind power purchasing agreement would use renewable energy from the Flyers Creek Wind Farm, currently being built about 20km south of Orange.

Local businesses with an energy use of over 100MWh/year can register their interest to be part of a 100 per cent renewable Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

“To obtain financing, wind or solar farm developers need to pre-sell half of their output,” Kristina Photios, Director of Business Green Energy, explains to Manly Observer.

Kristina Photios

“These developers need to sign energy customers up to an incentivised, long-term deal. Deals that are usually reserved for very large corporates like Coles or Woolworths or the big universities.”

The Northern Beaches Businesses PPA allows multiple medium-sized businesses to aggregate their energy load to access savings from a renewable source. According to Photios, these savings could be 30 to 40 per cent off the typical energy market price.

The renewable source is Iberdrola Australia’s Flyers Creek Wind Farm which is under construction and will be operational mid next year.

It’s something the folks at Northern Beaches Council are very excited about. The Council itself made savings by putting a 100 per cent Renewable PPA in place for its own electricity usage with Iberdrola Australia in 2021, achieving its sustainability targets well ahead of time.

Local business accounts for 37 per cent of the Northern Beaches overall carbon footprint, with more than 70 per cent of those emissions coming from electricity.

“The Northern Beaches is a forward-thinking community deeply committed to environmental stewardship,” Northern Beaches Mayor, Sue Heins tells Manly Observer.

“This initiative represents a crucial step forward in our journey to attain net zero emissions by 2050 and offers a fantastic framework for positive change.

“We recognise that by uniting to lower electricity expenses, businesses can consequently reduce their carbon footprint.”

Local businesses usually face increasing energy rates, and choosing renewable energy can be costly.

Photios aims to have a few hundred Northern Beaches businesses on board, but they’ll proceed even if there are only five.

Photios aims to have a few hundred Northern Beaches businesses on board, but they’ll proceed even if there are only five.

“The more businesses involved in the PPA, the cheaper the savings for everyone,” she adds.

Flyers Creek Farm construction with blades and turbines – Image used with permission

The agreement would lock in a green energy rate for six and a half years, starting in July 2024.

The agreement has two main benefits: green energy and price certainty for local businesses – a clear attraction in the current climate.

However, it can’t be all good news… can it?

“The biggest risk with PPAs is that the solar or wind farm doesn’t get built,” Photios says.

“However, Flyers Creek Wind Farm is already under construction.”

Groundbreaking Ceremony June 2022 – Image used with permission

The other risk is that businesses are locked into a long-term agreement, and should energy prices collapse during that agreement, then they will pay above market prices.

“With the way the energy market is going at the moment, we don’t foresee prices going down this decade,” Photios notes.

Northern Beaches businesses with energy use of over 100MWh/year, need to register by 15 December 2023.

They will then be asked to supply their interval energy data, after which they will receive further information on the initiative.

Business Green Energy describes themselves as independent and not aligned to any generator or retailer. Their customers  hospitality giant Laundy Hotels, our very own Northern Beaches Council, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, and hospitality companies: Radisson Hotels and Novotel (to name a few).

The Council will be running a series of information sessions on the PPA early in the new year. An FAQ and key dates and links can be found on their designated webpage here. 

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Manly Observer is an experiment in providing non-sensationalist hyperlocal news on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We cover the big news across the LGA, but with a hyper focus on the Manly electorate encompassing Balgowlah, Seaforth, Freshwater, Brookvale and Curl Curl up to Dee Why. It is run by those living in the community for the benefit of an informed community. We care about an informed and connected community. That’s it. Simple. Thank you for your support in keeping quality local news alive!

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