Emerging energy retailer Flow Power has announced a first-of-its-kind power purchase agreement with the Ararat wind farm in Victoria, which it says will allow its business customers to access significant cuts to their electricity supply.
Investments in large scale wind and solar farms in Australia and overseas are becoming increasingly popular as businesses seek cheaper power or boost their “green credentials”.
What makes this PPA unique, says Flow Power founder and managing director Matthew van der Linden, is that this sort of deal enables customers to “take a chunk of that farm as though the wind turbine was on their site.”
And the company is looking to do the same things with large scale solar farms, and later with battery storage. “We are calling that wind energy minus the turbines, and solar power minus the panels,” he told the Disruption and Energy Industry conference in Sydney.
Flow Power says it will have access to up to 50MW of capacity from the 240MW Ararat facility, for terms of around 10 years, but says over time it would like to contract up to 1000MW, an initiative that would likely underrate new wind and solar farms.
Van der Linden said it meant that businesses could access power at less than 10/kWh, a significant discount on what they are paying now. “That is a game changer for businesses …. and could be the difference between business customers going broke and customers being able to operate.”
Ararat wind farm was opened earlier this year, and 40 per cent of its capacity is contracted to the ACT government, as part of its plan to source the equivalent of 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020.
The rest of the output from the wind farm is sold into the grid at market prices, and van der Linden said it was a challenge to convince them to sign a PPA given how much money was being made in the wholesale markets.
Renewable PPAs are already at the heart of many corporate energy strategies in Europe and North America, with companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook aiming for 100 per cent renewable energy, and the likes of Telstra, Sun Metals and others also signing contracts with large scale solar farms.
Flow Power says it is the first retailer to offer large energy users in Australia these same benefits within a volatile power market that has seen energy prices increase by up to 300%.
The introduction of Renewable Corporate PPAs allows local businesses to tap into a global trend that will bring costs down and benefit both the environment and the economy.
Renewable Corporate PPAs … make economic sense by providing Australian businesses with direct access to secure, low-cost energy supply at rates up to half the current retail rates,” it says.
“That saves businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs. Ultimately, that means more jobs and investment in Australia for the long term.
Stuart Liddell, General Manager of Ararat Wind Farm said in a statement the PPA will directly benefit the local and regional economy by helping businesses keep costs down while procuring secure, reliable and green power”.
Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, and is also the founder of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and founder/editor of www.TheDriven.io. Giles has been a journalist for 35 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.