Last year was phenomenal for renewable energy uptake in the country. Various new projects were approved and commissioned in all states. As usual, Queensland and South Australia led the charge in reshaping the Australian energy landscape through their respective renewable energy targets (RET). This year also seems very favorable to this solar trend. Within the first 30 days, two massive projects are greenlit and the city of Melbourne achieves renewable energy milestone – 100% clean power for city council. This is a milestone for Australia that showcases the state and federal governments’ efforts, which are catching up to European green energy revolution.
City of Melbourne is the first city council in Australia to be completely powered by renewable energy – public places, parks and streets. This was feasible due to the 80MW Crowlands wind farm borne out of the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP). As of this month, 25 turbines are installed and running that is powering the “green grid”. This ambitious project is driven by the group of RMIT, university of Melbourne, Moreland City Council, City of Yarra, City of Port Philip, Zoos Victoria, Bank Australia, Citywide, NEXTDC, MCEC, Australia Post and National Australia Bank. These 14 members are also in a power purchase agreement to buy 88GWh from the farm.
The project has created over 148 jobs in the city. The Crowlands farm will have a total of 39 Senvion MM92 (2.05MW) turbines on completion. Located in Pyreness Shire council, it is developed by Pacific Hydro, and initial planning started back in 2004. The approval came in 2010 and the construction began 25 km north-east of Aarat. The renewable energy generation from the farm is sufficient to meet the annual needs of 50,000 Victorian homes.
This is a landmark achievement for a city that contributes to over 6% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product ($95 billion). As noted by their Mayor, it is a great example of how a city can respond to climate change to secure a sustainable energy supply.