Westpac joins growing corporate push into wind and solar | RenewEconomy

Westpac joins growing corporate push into wind and solar

Westpac joins growing corporate push into wind and solar with a tender for 150GWh of renewable energy. It’s cleaner, and cheaper!


Westpac Banking Group has made its first major push into renewable energy, quietly announcing a tender for 155GWh of renewable power a year – the equivalent of around 50MW of wind or solar capacity.

Westpac is looking for proposals for the supply of renewable energy – from wind, solar, or hydro – to help power its operations that include data centres, branches, commercial offices and ATMs via a power purchase agreement. The tender closes on May 30.

“The Westpac Group will be seeking proposals from third party electricity retailers and project developers for the purchase of up to 150 GWh annually of renewably generated electricity with the objective of entering into a medium to long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA),” it says.

“It is expected this electricity will be sourced from either wind energy, solar photovoltaic or hydro-electric generated sources.”

This is the first major Westpac push into renewables, but the bank joins a growing corporate push into renewable energy, a shift that recognises the cheaper cost of wind and solar.

The corporate market is also considered crucial for the future of large scale wind and solar developments in Australia, particularly given the uncertainty over future policy and the federal government’s refusal to seek further emissions reductions in the sector.

Some of Westpac’s rivals have already made the move into renewables, with ANZ joining Telstra and CC Amatil to contract the first 240MW stage of the 429MW Murra Warra wind project in Victoria. Telstra has separately signed a contract for a 70MW solar farm in Queensland.

Other corporates are also moving. Sun Metals is soon to open a 116mw solar farm that will underpin expansion of its zinc refinery in north Queensland, while Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance is looking at 1GW of solar and storage to power, and slash electricity costs, for the Whyalla Steelworks.

Nectar Farms is soon to begin construction of a 179MW wind farm and 20MW/34MWh battery storage installation near Stawell, part of a $550 million project that will see what will be the country’s biggest vegetable greenhouse entirely powered by renewables.

Westpac itself noted in a report released in December that up to 20 different Australian companies were tendering for renewable energy contracts, and it appears to be taking its own advice that renewable PPAs offer a significantly cheaper option than standard grid contracts.

In that report, Westpac noted that businesses were being slugged between $120/MWh and $350.MWh for power from the grid, when the costs of solar, for instance, had fallen to as low as $65/MWh.

New so called “firming” contracts are also emerging that allow for the output of solar to be balanced with other supply options.

“There is a wave of corporates who are waking up to the new world of energy prices and are shocked by the rise in their energy bills,” Westpac’s head of project finance Jason Tranter said at the time.

“My view is that the underlying move to renewable energy is here to stay, and that new technologies are taking over from the old in the energy generation market.”

Now Westpac is doing the same. In its Climate change position statement and action plan 2020 document, produced late last year, Westpac said it was setting a “science-based target” to reduce its emissions by 9 per cent by 2020, and by 34 per cent by 2030.

It also set out to “actively reduce” the emissions intensity of its exposure to the power generation sector – to 0.30 tCO2e/MWh by 2020;

to only finance new power generation if it reduces the emissions intensity of the grid in which the generator operates; and

to only support direct lending to an existing coal red generation facility if the facility is required for system reliability and/or afforrdability, or is not for the purpose of expanding the capacity or extending the life of the facility.

It also vowed to increase its target lending exposure to climate change solutions from $6 billion to $10 billion by 2020, and to $25 billion by 2030.

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  1. john 3 years ago

    Westpac have given out a tender to be closed on the 30th of May for some supply.
    Hardly enough time to put together a proposal.
    What should happen is they say in the next month by 30th of May please give us proposals to supply x amount of MWh of power then We as in Wespac will go into a contract situation with the best proposals.
    This is not buying off the shelf supply, obviously Westpac have not idea about what is entailed in building a facility to supply their needs, which I need not say, but am, are all over the country.
    I do not think Westpac are serious about this because of the very poor time frame set out.
    I think they hope it fails frankly.

    • Jon 3 years ago

      This will be picked up by a retailer with access to existing RE generation.
      This in turn will decrease the amount of unutilised RE power which will lead to more RE power generation equipment to be constructed.
      The contract doesn’t need to go straight to a new project to be effective.

      It is good to see they are firming up on not lending money to high emitting generators, it’s is worded vaguely but only RE generation will “reduce the emissions intensity of the grid in which the generator operates”.

      Also not lending money to expand or extend the life of FF generators.

      • Jonathan Prendergast 3 years ago

        It’s unlikely to need a retailer. Will be direct between Westpac and projects, like Telstra-Emerald SF and CUB- Karadoc SF

    • PLDD 3 years ago

      John – I expect that this is just the first stage. They send tender document to lots of suppliers asking for expressions of interest (EOI) – this is usually a 30 day process.

      From the EOI’s they then select maybe five or six to develop more extensive proposals with detailed solutions and indicative prices. This takes about 3 months. Then two or three suppliers for best and final offers (BAFO) and contract negotiation and agreement.

    • Jonathan Prendergast 3 years ago

      There are plenty of projects under development. All they need to submit is the project, timing, size and price.

      If you want time to find a site, get a land option, submit a project approval, you are out of the game

  2. Paul Surguy 3 years ago

    There are plenty of wind farms and solar farms on the drawing board ready to get the nod go to wikipedia type in wind farms or solar farms and it tells you what is happening this may get some projects going.great job WESPAC

    • john 3 years ago

      NO wrong Westpac has no Idea what you do is ask who can supply this need of x amount of mWh of power for a year.
      Then after Wespac gives that information they get an idea from companies who may say x amount at this dollar from renewables and y from non renewables .

      • Paul Surguy 3 years ago

        There is normally a lot of work done behind closed doors then tenders are called

  3. Hettie 3 years ago

    Oh frabjous day!
    The perfect squelch to rebut the troglodytes who claim that renewables could not possibly be cheaper than coal, or the grid.
    If a bank is going solar, there must be a cost advantage.

    • john 3 years ago

      You did realise it is a one month submission.
      Not exactly best practice.

  4. Peter 3 years ago

    “…Westpac said it was setting a “science-based target” to reduce its emissions by 9 per cent by 2020, and by 34 per cent by 2030.”

    Really? Way to insult science, Westpac. Please go back to the Royal Commission to explain another example of deception!

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