PPAs in Gippsland

Sometime ago I wrote praising the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) being organised by the East Gippsland Shire Council (EGSC). The blog commented on the EGSC release in December last year announcing a PPA for close to 100% of their energy for the next 10 years. It then explained how the PPAs worked and that they were a win for both the purchaser, by providing renewable energy at a fixed cost, and the provider by guaranteeing sales and income into the future. The latter in turn enabled the producer to secure capital for the development and/or expansion of their renewable energy project.

I concluded that the “PPAs are an obvious way for the shire to get in on the ground floor and switch to 100% renewable energy use immediately. The East Gippsland Shire’s push for solar energy is… commendable..” and that “while the PPAs are encouraging the rapid expansion of solar and wind farms it is a shame that more of them cannot be located in Gippsland where the flow-on effects of employment in construction and maintenance are added benefits.”

Last month the Bass Coast Shire announced that they were also going down the PPA path. Promotion of this news on the social media led to correspondence with Wellington Shire Councillor Darren McCubbin on their own plans. Darren wrote of this in some detail: “My understanding is that we are only putting up 25% in the first instance, sort of a dip our toe in the water. I was not keen for much more as I am really keen for us to negotiate bigger PPA’s with local suppliers – we have been working on Ramayuck as a possible site with the income being used to generate indigenous employment plus a great rate for the Council.”

He added: “The current PPA is through a group which was headlined by Darebin Council although there were some problems and now the Municipal Association of Victoria are doing it… I know you can do better by working with others but I still would like to encourage local solar farms and believe in the long-run this is a better way to go. On another note, we announced our new sustainability strategy on Monday and put “sustainability” as one our pillars of governance and good policy (as it of course should be).”

It is now time for large businesses in the region large to go down the same path, especially those enterprises which can only capture a small part of their energy consumption or have substantial power consumption at night. With both local governments and business on board the target of 100% renewables will be more readily achieved.