Melbourne focuses on long-term renewable projects

The Melbourne Renewable Energy Project is gathering momentum with a tender for new renewable energy advertised nationally.

The project is the first time in Australia a group of large-scale energy users have investigated collectively buying utility-scale renewable energy through a group purchasing model.

The group, which comprises private businesses and government, predicts it will purchase 110GWh of energy. The tender has been released by Procurement Australia which is seeking responses from new renewable energy projects that are shovel-ready and have planning approvals in place.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the tender shows the project to develop a large-scale renewable energy plant is on track.

“The City of Melbourne has united a group of large-scale energy consumers to invest in a long-term electricity contract spanning at least 10 years,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The successful tenderer to deliver this project will build and operate a new renewable energy plant in regional Australia.

“Up to 140 jobs could be created in the construction phase, with a number of ongoing jobs in the operation and management of the plant. We are challenging the market to supply us with the right energy at the right price. If the market responds effectively, we will see a new renewable energy plant constructed within the next two years.”

Led by the City of Melbourne, the group comprises Australia Post, NAB, the University of Melbourne, RMIT, NEXTDC, Zoos Victoria, the City of Port Phillip, Moreland City Council, the City of Yarra, Citywide, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and Bank Australia.

Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio Cr Arron Wood said the purchasing group expects considerable interest from companies in the renewable energy sector.

“This is about creating the jobs of the future, supporting innovation and diversifying Melbourne’s energy supply,” Cr Wood said.

“Together, we’re finding a new way to drive investment in renewable energy in Australia. By pooling our electricity demand we will achieve enough scale to enable a new renewable energy plant to be built.

“The fantastic thing is that the direct renewable energy purchase model is replicable. We’ve already had strong international interest from local governments around the world about using the model to accelerate the transition to renewables.”

“It’s hugely exciting to have reached this point after more than two years developing an entirely new avenue to directly invest in renewables. This really mixed group of local governments, large corporates, enterprises and leading research institutions will be able to point to a real, on-ground project that we’ve come together to help build.”

The call for tenders is the first in a series of key project milestones that will take place throughout the year. Once the winning tender is selected, each member of the purchasing group will enter into a long-term electricity supply contact for renewable energy.