A new partnership between Brisbane City Council and a global technology company will make direct access to renewable energy easier for Queensland’s businesses.
Brisbane City Council has partnered with renewable energy procurement technology company WePower through its CitySmart initiative to launch Brisbane Renewable Buyers Group – a program aimed at supporting Queensland’s corporates and large enterprises to access renewable energy through corporate renewable power purchase agreements (PPA).
Launched on Wednesday 18 September, the Brisbane Renewable Buyers Group will focus on helping Brisbane-based companies transition to local renewable energy by streamlining their access to PPAs using WePower’s procurement platform.
“What we’ve done is develop tools and a platform to house them,” WePower’s business development director Jenya Khvatsky told The Fifth Estate. “The platform enables businesses or any organisation to find agreements which meets their environmental criteria, and use our processes to evaluate which PPA is right for them.”
With a PPA, smaller companies are able to form long term, fixed partnerships with renewable projects – giving them access to clean power without the upfront cost of installation or maintenance. It works by connecting any number of smaller businesses with a wind or solar farm for example.
The world of PPA’s is still a relatively uncharted one, Mr Khvatsky said, so the Brisbane Renewable Buyers Group aims to help businesses of all sizes feel more comfortable making the transition.
“A key step is for the consumer to understand their own load profile,” Mr Khvatsky explained.
“This is one of the barriers to entry – that lack of knowledge and understanding around what sort of project they need to meet their load.”
The Brisbane Renewable Buyers Group addresses this through WePower’s technology, which enables customers to upload their energy consumption data and have it algorithmically analysed to match usage patterns, and calculate potential costs and CO2 emissions savings.
It then helps customers find best fit renewable electricity producers based on their needs, and allows the customer to contract the producer directly.
This results in great transparency and competitive rates, Mr Khvatsky explained, particularly given the standardised contract used. This contract, created by Baker McKenzie and peer reviewed from the perspective of the buyer, makes the process even simpler.
Great for small players
“And that’s the reason we created the Buyers Group – for smaller buyers our platform is the most efficient option.
“There’s safety in numbers,” he added. “PPA’s are still relatively new and not too well publicised, so if you’re the procurement manager for QIC, for example, you might be uncomfortable by yourself, but with [the Brisbane Renewable Buyers Group] you’re in with say, Suncorp, and many other names.”
And that list is set to keep growing, with ambitions to expand the group to include a permanent facility for South East Queensland where local organisations can procure renewable energy through regular auctions.
“The idea is to improve Queensland’s environmental footprint,” Mr Khvatsky said, “so eventually we want to expand and focus on the whole state. We want to get more projects built, and a permanent facility would mean we could have new groups come through regularly.”