Sunday, January 16, 2022

Woolworths turns to wind power to blow a hole in carbon emissions

A new renewable energy deal has put the wind in the sails of Australia’s largest supermarket, Woolworths, promising to supply 30 per cent of New South Wales’ (NSW) food needs.

The contract will carry over the transfer of 195,000 Megawatt hours from Bango Wind Farm to 108 stores in NSW – equivalent to the supply of 34,000 homes – every year.

The unknown investment will prepay the bill for ten years of energy, which is part of a power purchase agreement with the wind farm developer, Australian CWP Renewables.

Woolworths plans to move to 100 percent renewable energy by 2025, which already broadcasts solar panels on the roofs of 140 stores, out of a total of 995 stores it owns nationwide.

Woolworths Group, which is also responsible for Big W divisions, aims to reach ‘net carbon positive’ by 2050, which means that the conglomerate ultimately wants to deliver more energy into the network than it does.

“If we go beyond net carbon neutral, we are committed to extracting more carbon from the atmosphere than we produce by 2050, and our first acquisition of renewable energy is a major milestone in the endeavor,” said Rob McCartney, director of Woolworths Group, said media release.

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Woolworths Store in Sydney, Australia, on August 25, 2016. (PETER PARKS / AFP via Getty Images)

This is a step ahead of NSW’s own environmental plan, which aims to reach only a neutral carbon emission level by 2050, investing $ 11.6 billion over the next ten years.

McCartney said supermarkets need a significant amount of power daily to run the stores, making the stores a primary target for supporting renewable energy.

“Supermarkets are particularly energy-intensive to manage, and we want to make good use of our scale by supporting the transition to renewable electricity.”

Last year, Brad Banducci, CEO of Woolworths Group, outlined the company’s new sustainability plan and put it in a media release that the company consumes one per cent of the total electricity demand in Australia and that it plans to invest tens of millions in renewable energy partnerships.

NSW Minister of Energy and Environment Matt Kean supported the decision, particularly for his contribution to supporting jobs and increasing the state’s renewable energy supply.

“This is good news and further proof that the NSW Roadmap for Electricity Infrastructure provides the security for businesses and investors in the energy market to make financial decisions that will help our state in the future,” Kean said.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
Taralga wind farm on agricultural land in Taralga, New South Wales, Australia on 31 August 2015. (Photo by Mark Kolbe / Getty Images)

“I fully support all energy market investments in NSW, but this partnership and agreement is particularly important because it prioritises the construction of new infrastructure, provides local jobs and investments and helps us grow our renewable energy base.”

Bango Wind Farm, which is expected to be the third largest in the state by the end of 2021, is 30 kilometers outside Yass NSW and will, when completed, produce a production with a maximum capacity of 244 MW.

The cost of the project is not disclosed, but the Renewable Now the website estimates that the cost is about $ 500 million. On the other hand, the recently announced $ 600 million gas plant of NSW 660 Megawatt will be able to produce “reliable” energy – which can provide power regardless of conditions such as lack of wind or sunlight.

This is due to concerns about the state’s stability in the power grid following increasing dependence on renewable energy sources, with a shortage of electricity generation having to shut down NSW’s Tomago, Australia’s largest aluminum smelter, several times last month.

“No one disputes that the energy system should move to more clean sources; we are actively striving for renewable energy such as wind, solar and hydro, ”said Matt Howell, CEO of Tomago. “But the fact is that there are significant parts of the day and night, especially in winter, where the transmissible generation is not there.”


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