The Reserve Bank of Australia has made some fine speeches and delivered some significant reports on the systemic risks of climate change, and the need for business to take urgent action. But someone must have forgotten to tell its facilities manager.
The RBA has just announced a tender for a 3-year contract for its electricity supply, from the middle of next year, but it seeks only 10 per cent green energy, at a time when many businesses – Australia’s major banks included – are making a big deal out of committing to a 100 per cent renewable energy supply.
“The Reserve Bank is seeking proposals to replace its large market electricity supply agreements expiring 30 June 2021 for its ten accounts in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory,” the RBA says in its tender documents. The contract could run for up to three years.
“The Reserve Bank requires 10% of total demand as accredited GreenPower for all buildings in NSW, ACT and VIC,” the document says. (see screenshot below)
The RBA has a relatively large demand, totalling 27 gigawatt hours a year, more than half of it from Victoria (See table from tender documents below).
It notes that it does intend to install a 1MW rooftop solar system on its Craigieburn facility in Victoria, where it prints notes, and which may well account for the 10 per cent “green” supply needed for that state. It also plans a 176kW rooftop solar system at Belle Vista in NSW.
RBA deputy governor Guy Debelle last August issued his second climate warning of the year, saying it was crucial that risk managers incorporated climate change into their business risk assessments, echoing calls from other Australian financial regulators, including ASIC and APRA.
“Climate is a challenging risk to assess but an increasingly necessary one. Businesses need to take account of both the physical risks and the transition risks,” Debelle said. See RBA issues another warning to companies to take climate risks seriously.
The 10% renewable target falls well below even the current share of renewables in NSW and Victoria, although the RBA’s blushes may be are spared for the single building it uses in the ACT, if only for the fact that the ACT government now buys the equivalent of all the electricity consumed in the capital territory from wind and solar farms.
All four of Australia’s big banks – ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac – have signed up with the RE100 campaign to source all of their electricity supply from renewables, as has Macquarie Group. Most will reach this target by 2025, and the CBA by 2030.
“Moving to 100 per cent renewable energy for our electricity by 2025 not only makes good business sense, it is good for the planet and reflects our ongoing support for the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement,” ANZ said at the time.
“Consistent with the dedicated power purchase agreements it has created for clients, Macquarie will seek to develop projects to supply the green energy for its new Sydney headquarters and Melbourne office,” Macquarie said in its statement.
Globally, the RE100 campaign has signed up corporate commitments from companies whose electricity consumption totals more than 220 terawatt hours a year – about the equivalent of Australia’s annual electricity demand.
The RBA declined to comment. RenewEconomy suggests it rethink its tender and perhaps team up with ASIC and APRA for a multi-client power purchase agreement on renewables. We know there are many parties out there who could help with that. It could be a licence to print clean money.
Update: RBA made an important change to their tender documents after this story was published, changing the green energy mix from 10 per cent to 100 per cent: Reserve Bank modifies energy tender from 10 pct to 100 pct green energy