Australian gentailer EnergyAustralia has acquired 49 per cent in solar and LED company Echo Group with the intention of putting its products in front of industrial and commercial customers.
The move was followed by EnergyAustralia’s announcement this week to invest more than $80 million in operational upgrades for the Mt Piper Power Station near Lithgow, NSW, to extend its life for another 15 years without burning any additional coal.
From modest beginnings 18 months ago as four employees and three warehouses in a suburban park, Echo Group now claims to be the third largest solar installer nationally. The 60 person operation also supplies and installs LED lighting, battery storage and energy monitoring.
The partnership with the gentailer is about making those technologies available to businesses, according to EnergyAustralia executive, customer Mark Collette.
“…because it doesn’t matter how big a customer is, reliability and saving money always matters.”
“Echo Group is a great, local Australian business with a reputation for service and great technical advice. Our businesses are a great fit and together we plan on reaching more commercial and industrial customers more often – helping them achieve their saving targets and environmental benefits that much sooner,” Mr Collette said.
As well as moving into the business space, the company is expanding beyond its Victorian home base and setting up offices in New South Wales and Queensland.
But fossil fuels are still on EnergyAustralia’s agenda
The gentailer’s operational upgrades at its Mt Piper power station will involve replacing the majority of the internal componentry of the plant’s two 700 MW-capacity turbines, to be completed in 2020 and 2021.
The company states that the work will help replace the generation lost when the Liddell Power Station closes in 2022.
“For EnergyAustralia and other companies, competing to replace Liddell is a big opportunity, one we’re looking forward to,” EnergyAustralia managing director, Catherine Tanna, said.
“We think the answer lies in a mix of renewables, gas, coal and transmission upgrades. A modern energy system, with a diversity of supply, will strengthen energy security, while providing clean and affordable power to New South Wales.
“The upgrade means Mt Piper will be able to power an additional 55,000 homes without burning a single, additional lump of coal,” she said.