Australian Business Renewables Centre to boost commercial renewable energy
ARENA is helping fund Australia’s first online marketplace to boost commercial renewable energy.
The Business Renewables Centre (BRC) will receive $500,000 from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to encourage businesses to switch to clean energy like solar panels.
The $1.74 million project will also make it easier for Australian corporates and local authorities to enter into corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs). They can then buy clean energy directly from the provider.
Online marketplace based on US success
The online marketplace will form a resource centre similar to one trialled in the US.
The Rocky Mountain Institute’s BRC has helped more than 200 companies access more than 7,000 MW of renewable energy deals since its launch in 2015.
It provides members with information, PPA advice, affordable training and a growing network of energy buyers and project developers.
As a result, the Australian BRC will focus on provision of large-scale wind and solar energy.
It will help Australian businesses and local governments procure 1 GW of installed renewable energy by 2022 and 5 GW by 2030.
Australian business behind global competitors
A 2017 ARENA report showed that 80 per cent of Australians believe big business should use renewable energy. Around 76 per cent would choose a ‘green’ product or service and 40 per cent would be willing to pay more for it.
Yet the same survey showed business also falling behind global counterparts in terms of commercial solar uptake.
A 2018 Climate Council report painted a more positive picture. The report says 46 per cent of large Australian companies are actively procuring renewable energy.
Business solar installations increased by 60 per cent over 2016-2017. Over 40,000 commercial solar power systems are therefore installed in Australia.
Platform to boost commercial renewable energy
The future trend is for more smaller renewable generating facilities. ARENA CEO Darren Miller says the BRC will play its part by helping business customers access cheaper clean energy via the portal.
The BRC will kick off with a grant of $500,000. This will then be shared by Climate-KIC Australia, WWF-Australia and the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures.
WWF Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman says it will build on the success of WWF’s Renewable Energy Buyers Forum.
The forum now has more than 230 member organisations. The number of PPAs has also grown over the last 12 months.