The University of New South Wales (UNSW) is hoping to make it into the green energy record books with a new deal to source all of its electricity from solar power.
The Australian university yesterday announced it has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with developer Maoneng Australia and electricity retailer Origin Energy, which it says will help achieve its goal to engage in ‘carbon neutral’ energy use by 2020.
UNSW claims it will be the first university in the world to go fully energy ‘carbon neutral’ through the use of solar power.
“This landmark initiative is an exciting step towards realising UNSW’s goal of carbon neutrality on energy use by 2020 and reflects our commitment to making a positive global impact,” said UNSW president and vice-chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs.
“The Solar PPA arrangement will allow UNSW to secure carbon emission-free electricity supplies at a cost which is economically and environmentally attractive when compared to fossil fuel-sourced supplies,” he added.
The “tripartite” agreement, signed in December, will see UNSW buy up to 124,000MWh of solar power every year from one of Maoneng’s solar farms in New South Wales, meeting UNSW total annual electricity demand from 2019.
A three-year deal with Origin Energy will manage the intermittency of solar power, UNSW added in a statement.
Earlier this week a new report from the International Renewable Energy Association predicted all renewable electricity technologies, including solar, will be cost-competitive with fossil fuels by 2020. It detailed how growing numbers of large energy users are expected to make use of PPAs and switch to clean power in the coming years in order to realise the financial and environmental savings it can offer.