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TENDERS AND OTHER OPPORTUNITIES: Cbus Property, ISPT Property, Fulton Hogan, RMIT University, Deakin University, Citywide Asphalt and Mondelez International have put a collective tender out to 16 energy retailers seeking a renewable energy Power Purchase Agreement.

The buying group has been facilitated by City of Melbourne following the success of the first Melbourne Renewable Energy Project, which resulted in the construction of an 80 MW wind farm at Crowlands, near Ararat, City of Melbourne deputy mayor Arron Wood said.

The group of large energy users want to purchase around 113GWh of energy from a large-scale renewable energy project in the state – enough to power more than 25,000 households in Melbourne for a year.

Mr Wood said the group aims to “lead by example” and take action on climate change through their energy purchase.

“This project would lead to university campuses, manufacturing facilities, shopping centres, retail stores and office buildings across Melbourne being powered using renewable energy.

“It will support industry in a rural area and provide a tangible example of climate change leadership.”

The first Melbourne Renewable Energy Project resulted in 140 construction jobs.

A spokesperson for City of Melbourne said the buying group came together quite organically. Some of them, such as Fulton Hogan, Modelez International, RMIT and Deakin University are involved in Sustainability Victoria’s TAKE2 climate change pledge.

There was also talk along the grapevine among sustainability and energy consultants that encouraged some participants, the spokesperson said.

City of Melbourne acted as facilitator, and ensured all parties were aligned on fundamental criteria such as risk appetite and organisational carbon targets.

RMIT was part of the first buying consortium, so has an important role as the lead customer and the contracting entity for legal advice and other key matters.

The spokesperson said City of Melbourne hopes to see other aggregators emerge in the market to help businesses and other organisations to forge PPA agreements at scale.

“Group deals allow smaller organisations, such as Fulton Hogan, to come together with other parties to bulk out a deal.”

Aside from the renewable energy itself, other benefits for group deal participants include knowledge sharing, purchasing power and greater flexibility in energy use changes, the spokesperson said.

While some of the 16 retailers invited to tender do not currently have PPA offerings, the spokesperson said the group wanted to ensure all Victorian retailer that deal with large market accounts were offered the opportunity.

“Plus, it sends a market signal that there is appetite for these kinds of products, which helps drive market transformation,” the spokesperson said.

Be part of Standards Australia’s content revolution

It’s about to become a lot easier to access critical standards documents by Standards Australia, with a call issued for proposals to partner with the organisation in enabling its content to be used more broadly by industry, consumers and students.

A new distribution and licensing framework has been released to start a conversation with potential distribution partners, and the plan is to have some up and running by early next year.

According to chief executive Adrian O’Connell, for many years the documents published by Standards Australia have been in print or PDF. He said as well as seeking new partnerships for the delivery of content this way, the organisation wants to move far beyond PDFs and hard copy books and consider the apps and web platforms used by different industries.

Apps used by tradespeople to facilitate their work may not have the relevant standards as part of their content, but the new framework opens up the potential for app developers to work with the organisation to incorporate them, Mr O’Connell said.

In addition to these kinds of arrangements and bulk licensing arrangements, the organisation has committed to making access to its content free for personal, household and domestic use by 2023.

In areas where there is high public interest and benefit, for example, standards relating to child safety seats, partnerships are sought to develop plain English guides to help the community understand subject matter that is highly technical.

Access the Standards Australia’s Distribution and Licensing Policy Framework.

Small grants for big ideas

City of Melbourne will be opening applications for the next round of its Small Business Grants Program in February next year.

The program has been a pathway to success for a number of sustainability-focused startups and small businesses, including KeepCup.

In total, since launching in 1996, the program has awarded $8.9 million in funding to more than 400 small businesses.

A key criterion for applicants is they must be either based in City of Melbourne or firmly intend to establish a presence there. Start-ups and established businesses from any sector are welcome to apply – but your ideas must be great and backed by a solid business proposal which will proceed regardless of whether it obtains grant funding.

New guidelines for the grants will be available in early 2020.

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