Monash Uni tenders for new wind or solar farm in Australian first

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Monash Uni offers long-term contract for 55GWh of new wind or solar in Australia’s biggest non-government renewables tender, to date.

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Monash University in Melbourne has announced a tender for 55GWh of solar or wind energy in a new project that is believed to be the largest corporate tender for large-scale renewable energy in Australia.

The tender, released on Wednesday, calls for a long-term contract to meet 55 per cent of the university’s annual electricity demand, which equates to around 55GWh. That is roughly equivalent to around 40MW of solar or wind.

Monash is offering a 10-year contract for the new large-scale solar or wind farm, which “favourably” would be located in Victoria, but could be located elsewhere in the National Electricity Market. Expressions of interest are due on May 24.

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It is believed to be largest tender for a large scale renewable installation by a non-government group in Australia. Most state governments, and some councils, have held similar tenders, but while corporate deals with wind and solar farms are common in the US and Europe, they have been absent from Australia.

Queensland zinc refiner Sun Metals has elected to build its own 116MW solar plant, and a group of 19 South Australian businesses, representing 15 per cent of that state’s total demand, is tendering for a long-term energy supply contract, although this is open to renewable energy or gas generation.

The investment represents a major step forward in Monash University’s stated task of reaching net zero emissions – with a target date to be announced later this year.

The university already has installed 777kW of rooftop solar and plans an additional 3.4MW of rooftop solar across the Clayton, Caulfield, and Peninsula campuses.

“Monash University has previously issued an Expression EOI for the supply, installation and/or operation of campus-wide rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV),” the tender document says. “Monash University now intends to explore potential supplier capabilities in the provision of large-scale offsite renewables as a strategy to procure cost effective renewable energy.”

In December, Monash became the first university in the world issue a certified climate bond, raising more than $218 million – with the help of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation – to fund sustainable development in the tertiary education sector.

Its plans already include the establishment of a “Monash Sustainable Microgrid “, which will feature “deep energy efficiency, on-site renewables and demonstrate opportunities for grid transformation through the deployment of grid-interactive control systems, storage and demand management.

“This dynamic grid will facilitate integration of on-site energy demand and renewable energy generation with cost effective off-site renewable energy generation,” it says.

“In doing so, the Monash Microgrid will provide a real-world working model showcasing a fair transition towards an affordable, reliable, renewable powered energy system for all Victorians.”

Note: This item was updated to note EOI closing date has been extended until 24 May.

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8 Comments
  1. George Darroch 3 years ago

    Outstanding leadership from Monash.

  2. Andrew Woodroffe 3 years ago

    I am curious. The windfarm or solar farm will supply the generated electricity. OK but how is the cost of transmission, distribution and anxillary services deal with? ie how is these amounts calculated, who is it paid to?

    • Sunbuntu Ltd 3 years ago

      Your electricity bill is made up of several costs, one is electricity. That is the only item that is affected.

      You still pay all the network changes etc.

      • Vox 3 years ago

        I’d also add to that that a typical wind or solar project is charged with paying for upgrades that are required for it to get the power away, and that the losses/benefits that come out of it’s location are set in the form of marginal loss factors. When these are above 1, it means that the generator’s location is leading to lower transmission to losses, and when above 1, the lead to higher overall transmission losses.
        The current regulations are quite good at making sure the costs imposed by new projects are internalised and not just passed onto the customer.

      • Andrew Woodroffe 3 years ago

        Me? As a humble customer, I buy from a retailer who takes care of all of this. If Monash is buying generation direct from a generator, how does transmission, distribution and anxillary costs associated with supplying electricity get dealt with? How do the network operators get paid for the services they provide – 40MW of wind or solar is neither going to be onsite nor to match the load every second of the day.

        • Jonathan Prendergast 3 years ago

          Network operators get paid via customer bills of delivered electricity via the retailers.

          • Andrew Woodroffe 3 years ago

            So, in addition to the money Monash pays the solar/wind farm for actual generation, there will be another cost, quite possibly as big, to Monash for the above services from a network operator? And this will vary according to the distance between the plant, where ever it is, and the nearest load (big enough for 40MW) to it?

  3. mannagum 3 years ago

    Excellenr initiative. Has Monash also divested investment funds from coal?

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