Westpac today announced its commitment to source the equivalent of 100 per cent of its global electricity consumption through renewable sources by 2025.
As one of the first Australian companies to make this commitment, Westpac Group will become a member of RE100, a global leadership initiative led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, bringing together the world’s most influential businesses who have committed to go 100% renewable.
The first phase of Westpac’s transition will be achieved through a power purchase agreement with Bomen Solar Farm, to be constructed in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, and expected to be operational by mid-2020.
- With a capacity of ~120MW, the Bomen Solar Farm will generate enough electricity annually to supply the equivalent of approximately 36,000 households
- Westpac has committed to purchase just over a quarter of the solar farm’s output under a 10 year agreement
- It will deliver a 45 per cent transition to renewables by 2021 for Westpac globally, as well as providing greater cost certainty for the group in relation to electricity spend
- Westpac, in partnership with Spark Infrastructure, the owner of the solar farm, is committing $1 million to support the community over the term of the contract. This includes STEM scholarships as well as providing support for youth facilities, local biodiversity and vegetation regeneration programs
- Westpac’s 10 year offtake agreement was developed in partnership with Renew Estate and Spark Infrastructure. Spark Infrastructure has acquired the project from Renew Estate and will build the solar farm through its associate construction company Beon Energy Solutions.
Gary Thursby, Chief Operating Officer at Westpac Group, said, Westpac has long recognised that climate change is one of the most significant issues set to impact the long-term prosperity of our economy and way of life.
“We see our move towards the use of renewable energy in our operations as being key to delivering on our existing climate change and sustainability commitments.
“When it comes to renewable energy, the advancement of technology and reduction in cost has presented a great opportunity to make this transition in a cost effective way.
“As the largest financier to greenfield renewable energy projects in Australia1 – renewables make up 71% of Westpac’s lending to the electricity generation sector – becoming a customer to this industry is an important step for us.
“We’re proud to be supporting the local Wagga Wagga community – the site construction and on-going management of the Bomen Solar Farm will provide local employment and supplier opportunities. We also look forward to seeing what we can achieve through the associated one million dollar community fund over the next ten years,” Mr Thursby said.
Some of Australia’s largest energy users along with universities, state and local governments are committing to renewable energy via long term agreements. This is playing a significant role in developing renewable energy generation capacity with around $3 billion investment in new renewable energy projects in Australia driven by corporate power purchase agreements since 20162.