Sydney’s Macquarie University is set to be the latest to make the shift to 100 per cent renewable electricity in a deal struck with Snowy Hydro.
By shifting all of the University’s electricity consumption to renewable sources, the university expects to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions footprint by as much as 92 per cent.
Macquarie University has agreed to purchase around 54,500 MWh of electricity from Snowy Hydro subsidiary Red Energy, with the arrangement coming into force from 1 July.
The commitment follows Macquarie University successfully raising $250 million through a ‘sustainability bond’ that will be used to fund the construction of a new 5 Green Star rated Central Courtyard precinct as part of a wider redevelopment of the university’s campus in Sydney’s north west.
The university has also successfully implemented new waste reduction measures that now see less than five per cent of waste generated on campus being sent to landfill.
“Macquarie University is dedicated to reducing our environmental footprint,” vice-chancellor professor S Bruce Dowton said. “These measures demonstrate our leadership and innovation in sustainability and protect one of our greatest assets – our green, parkland campus.
“With this new agreement with Red Energy, I am extremely pleased to report that we have far surpassed our original aim of reducing emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. This partnership will also create new collaboration opportunities in sustainable energy research, which benefits the wider community.”
“This is alongside our commitment to sustainable building design, energy efficiency, waste reduction, water conservation and biodiversity management. We take our responsibility seriously to be a more sustainable University and encourage others to do the same.”
As part of the deal, Macquarie University students will gain access to Snowy Hydro’s trading teams, providing an opportunity to collaborate on research and forecasting projects.
“On-demand hydro from the mighty Snowy Scheme will underpin our contracted wind and solar generation, meaning Red Energy will be proudly supplying Macquarie University with reliable renewable energy,” Snowy Hydro managing director Paul Broad said.
“We’re also very pleased to announce a collaboration with Macquarie University, which will allow students to work with our trading team on some research and energy forecasting projects, giving the students valuable exposure to some of the most experienced energy experts in the industry.”
Macquarie University becomes the latest in a flurry of Australian universities to make the transition to sourcing all of its power from renewable sources.
In 2018, the University of Newcastle secured a similar deal with Snowy Hydro’s Red Energy subsidiary, securing a contract for the supply of 100 per cent and firmed supply of renewables. Part of the University’s effort to transition to renewables included the installation of 2MW of onsite rooftop solar capacity.
Monash University secured funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to transition the university’s electricity systems to a 100 per cent renewable microgrid. The system involved the installation of 1MW of rooftop solar combined with 1MWh of battery storage and included facilities for electric vehicle charging. The university’s electricity supplies were supplemented by a power purchase agreement with the Murra Warra wind farm.
The University of Queensland struck a similar deal with the 64MW Warwick Solar Farm to supply power to its Brisbane campuses.
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