Woolworths Group is buying into wind in its first renewable power purchase agreement (PPA) as the group moves towards 100% green electricity by 2025.
The PPA of a newly built NSW wind farm will add 195,000 Megawatt hours of green electricity into the state’s energy grid every year and will power around 30% of Woolworth’s energy needs in the state.
“We know the steps we take to become a more sustainable business today will help create a better tomorrow for generations to come,” said Rob McCartney, director of format for Woolworths Group.
The farm will power 108 supermarkets and reduce carbon emissions by almost 158,00 tonnes a year, which is equal to the yearly energy used by 34,000 homes.
“Supermarkets are particularly energy intensive to run and we want to use our scale for good by supporting the transition to renewable electricity,” added McCartney.
Bango wind farm, which sits outside of Yass, was purchased on 10-year agreement in partnership with CWP Renewables.
“Going beyond net carbon neutral, we’ve committed to take more carbon out of the atmosphere than we produce by 2050 and our first renewable power purchase is a key milestone in that pursuit,” said McCartney.
The purchase will not only bring Woolworths closer to its goal of becoming net carbon positive by 2050, but will also support regional investment and provide more than 100 construction and operation jobs to the area.
“To spur the growth of the industry, we’re prioritising renewable energy from new build projects like the Bango wind farm, which also demonstrates the potential of green energy to deliver investment and jobs to regional areas.”
The project will pay annual rents to local landholders who host the wind turbines on their properties, in addition to CWP Renewables upcoming $14 million fund for community projects.
“With Woolworths’ decision, CWP Renewables is developing both stages of the approved Bango wind farm and will be generating renewable energy for Woolworths from the start of next year,” said Jason Willoughby, CEO of CWP Renewables.
Woolworth’s Group currently contributed around 1% of Australia’s total energy use and aims to reduce its carbon footprint by 63% by 2030, having already reduced its carbon emissions by around 25% since 2015.
“This is great news and further proof that the NSW electricity infrastructure roadmap is providing the certainty to businesses and energy market investors to make financial decisions that will help power our state into the future,” said Matt Kean, NSW energy minister.
Woolworths Group’s reduction goal is also the first retail target to be approved by the UN-backed Science-Based Targets Initiative, with group’s contribution to limiting climate change to 1.5 degrees.
“I am fully supportive of all energy market investment in NSW, but this partnership and agreement is particularly significant because it is prioritising the building of new infrastructure, providing for local jobs and investment and helping us grow our renewable energy base,” concluded Kean.