Telstra announces wind farm energy agreement

A new wind farm in Victoria will begin construction in 2018 thanks to Telstra, ANZ, Coca-Cola, and the University of Melbourne signing long-term power purchase contracts.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Telstra, ANZ, Coca-Cola Amatil, and the University of Melbourne have announced entering an agreement for long-term power purchase contracts in the Murra Warra Wind Farm in Horsham, Victoria.

The agreements cover the 226MW first stage of Murra Warra Wind Farm, owned by Macquarie Capital and RES, which will now be able to commence construction in 2018 ahead of operations launching by mid-2019.

Once the project is complete, Telstra said the wind farm will generate more energy than any other in the southern hemisphere, with a total permitted capacity of 429MW, able to power more than 220,000 homes. It is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 900,000 tonnes annually.

According to Telstra Energy ED Ben Burge, the consortium "achieved market-leading pricing" on energy and renewable certificates thanks to working together.

"From a Telstra perspective, it is another example of how we can use our in-house capabilities to help our enterprise customers and some of Australia's leading organisations become more involved in the sector, support renewable energy, and make a sizeable dint in their power costs," Burge said.

Under the deal, Telstra will provide energy market services to ANZ, Coca-Cola, and the University of Melbourne. The wind farm will also provide jobs by working with local companies and community organisations on 150 construction and eight operation roles.

"Telstra has coordinated another landmark deal, which underwrites the first stage of this wind farm, which will bring investment and create a real jobs boost for regional Victoria, and reduce Australia's emissions," said RES Australia CEO Matt Rebbeck.

Telstra had in May similarly thrown its support behind a renewable energy with a project to develop a 70-megawatt solar farm in northern Queensland under a long-term power purchase agreement with RES Australia.

According to RES Australia, the project to build the energy farm in Emerald, Queensland, is worth approximately AU$100 million, with the company having tailored the purchase agreement to Telstra's requirements.

As part of that agreement, Telstra has guaranteed that it will build a plant with enough energy to provide power to 35,000 homes in the region. The solar project is expected to begin generating electricity in 2018.

That deal was part of working to ensure that Telstra actively manages its energy consumption while reducing emissions across Australia, Burge said at the time, and will also provide Telstra with a back-up source of power for its telecommunications network.

"The Emerald project is part of Telstra becoming a more active participant in the energy market to reduce costs while at the same time building resilience in our network and contributing to a more stable energy system," Burge said.

"We are looking at opportunities to utilise the back-up electricity generation and battery storage capacity we have in our network to proactively generate energy in times of peak demand to help reduce black out risks and offset high wholesale prices."

The telecommunications provider had last year flagged its interest in the energy market, saying it would launch smart home packages for consumers focused on energy consumption to complement the launch of Telstra Energy.

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