University of Sydney to be powered by 100% renewables

Building entrance at The University of Sydney
Image: Shutterstock

The University of Sydney has signed a five-year contract with Red Energy, backed by Snowy Hydro, to source 100 per cent of its electricity in NSW from renewable sources. Once the contract begins, the university’s activities will be powered by solar energy.

As well as operations across campuses and University-run student accommodation, the contract will cover energy supply for Moore College, Sancta Sophia College, St Andrew’s College, St Paul’s College, the Women’s College and Wesley College. The positive impact will be in excess of removing 31,200 cars from the road.

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The move brings the University a step closer to its target of net zero emissions by 2030.

Vice-Chancellor and president Professor Mark Scott said the shift to renewable electricity reflected the university’s deep commitment to a more sustainable future.

“We know reducing emissions to combat climate change is a priority for our staff and students and we are committed to embedding sustainability in every aspect of university life,” he said.

“We are making the move to 100 per cent renewable electricity three years before our target of 2025,” he said.

“This agreement will power our research and teaching while reducing emissions. We are delighted to be working together with Snowy Hydro and Red Energy to achieve the ambitious energy targets set out in our sustainability strategy.”

Paul Broad, managing director and CEO of Snowy Hydro, which owns Red Energy, welcomed the partnership and the role it will play as Australia’s economy decarbonises and transitions to renewables.

“At Snowy Hydro, we have lived, breathed and delivered renewable energy to Australians through the mighty Snowy Scheme for generations. We are committed to continuing this legacy and leading the charge to a renewable energy future by working with large institutions like the University of Sydney.

“Combining our contracted wind and solar energy with our on-demand hydro assets allows us to provide reliable and 100 per cent renewable electricity to the university.”

The switch to renewable electricity is one of a range of initiatives under the university’s sustainability strategy. The institution has committed to sending zero waste to landfill by 2030 and to the eradication of single-use plastic on campus by 2025.

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The University of Sydney is working to integrate sustainable practices across operations, teaching and research, with steps including the Gelion solar smart bench roll-out last year and the recent installation of a biodigester to process organic waste into compost.

Power consumed by the University of Sydney will be matched by generation from a NSW solar farm or, in certain instances, other renewable facilities in the state. The associated Large Scale Generation Certificates will be surrendered by Red Energy to evidence that renewable generation has been exported into the National Electricity Market at quantities equivalent to the University’s load.

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