In an Australian first, supermarket giant Coles will purchase more than 70 per cent of the electricity generated by three NSW solar farms, including the 80ha 27MW project at Corowa.
The Corowa project, along with sites at Wagga Wagga and Junee, are set for construction to begin next month, with the purchase of power to cover 10 per cent of Coles’ national electricity usage.
Coles Group chief executive officer Steven Cain said the increased use of renewable energy was a major part of the company’s commitment to be the most sustainable supermarket in Australia.
“We are thrilled that with this agreement, Coles can make a significant contribution to the growth of renewable energy supply in Australia, as well as to the communities we serve," he said.
“We have already made changes throughout our business to use energy more efficiently, which has enabled us to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by four per cent over the past financial year and more than 30 per cent since 2009, despite growing our store network.
“Over the past two financial years alone we have invested more than $40 million in energy efficiency measures including upgrading all store lighting to LED by the end of 2019 and the installation of solar panels on 30 stores."
Coles' chief property and export officer Thinus Keeve said Coles was the first major Australian retailer to commit to buying renewable energy through a Power Purchase Agreement.
“Agreements like this are crucial to growing renewable generation capacity in Australia because they give the developers the certainty they need to invest,” he said.
The three projects were all developed by Terrain Solar, with the support of advisory firm PwC, as part of a portfolio of renewable generation plants.
Metka EGN acquired the portfolio earlier this year and will build, operate and own the plants, which are on track to supply energy to the grid by July 2020.