Large Australian organisations looking to switch to renewable energy will now be able to turn to Australia’s first Business Renewables Centre to help them to procure solar or wind energy through a renewable Power Purchase Agreements.

The Business Renewables Centre – Australia will be an independent, dedicated, not-for-profit information hub and online marketplace platform designed to help larger Australian organisations to navigate the renewable energy market.

The $1.74 million initiative will be delivered by the consortium of Climate-KIC Australia, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Australia and Institute for Sustainable Futures (University of Technology Sydney).

The Centre will be supported by $500,000 funding provided by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) under its Advancing Renewables Program, and $150,000 from each of the New South Wales and Victorian Governments.

Based on the highly successful model developed by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) in the US, the Business Renewables Centre Australia aims to help Australian organisations procure 1,000 MW of renewable energy (installed capacity) by 2022, and 5,000 MW by 2030.

While attractive prices exist for longer-term renewable energy purchasing, corporate Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) remain a challenge to negotiate, requiring an in-depth understanding of the energy market, the opportunity and industry players.

The Centre will reduce current barriers faced by larger Australian corporates, government organisations and institutions by providing online resources, inexpensive training and advice, face-to-face events, and by building a network of renewable energy buyers and sellers from across industry via an online marketplace.

WWF-Australia’s CEO, Dermot O’Gorman, said that the Business Renewables Centre Australia will build on the success of WWF’s Renewable Energy Buyers Forum, which now comprises over 250 member organisations, as well as the growth in corporate renewable PPAs in the last 12 months. ‘The future of renewables in Australia looks positive because it makes sound business sense. Contracting for long-term renewable energy will save customers money and will support growth in renewable energy infrastructure across Australia.’

Climate-KIC Australia CEO, Christopher Lee, said that the BRC would drive capacity building in the industry. ‘We are excited to be collaborating with industry players from small and large scale renewable energy developers, service providers and corporate buyers to build capability across the industry and lower the cost of transactions. Our partners bring a broad breadth of experience and look forward to driving the uptake of renewables.’

Professor Stuart White, Director of the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures, said: ‘There’s a lot of interest in renewable energy PPAs, but they’re new to Australia and the key decision-makers often lack the information they need. We will be applying a model that’s been successful in the US to give companies the tools and resources they need to make the shift to renewable energy.’

Jon Creyts, Managing Director at Rocky Mountain Institute and leader of RMI’s US Business Renewables Center (BRC) said: ‘RMI is excited to support the extension of the Business Renewables Center from the United States to Australia. The BRC Australia platform is the perfect place for any market actor seeking to understand non-utility procurement of renewable energy,’ continued Creyts, ‘and we look forward to supporting its progress in speeding the growth of renewable energy in Australia.’

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