Federal Government to fund online renewable energy marketplace & resource centre

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The Federal Government has announced it will fund a new online platform for trading renewables and renewable energy education, tentatively called The Business Renewables Centre in Australia (BRC-A).

With half a million ($500,000) of funding channelled through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the BRC-A is designed to encourage Australian business’ and local council uptake of renewable energy solutions, facilitated by corporate power purchase agreements.

The project’s goal is to have business and councils install 1 gigawatt (1GW) of installed renewable energy by 2022, with a further aim of 5GW by 2030. The total cost of the project is estimated at $1.74 million.

Project partners include Climate-KIC Australia, wildlife conservation foundation WWF-Australia, and The University of Sydney Sustainable Futures Centre to help facilitate the project. The NSW and Victorian Governments have provided $150,000 each.

The partners bring “global networks, technical and industry expertise and an established community to the Project,” according to the ARENA website.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the BRCA represents a total shift in how energy is supplied to Australian business and local government.

“The future for energy is a large number of smaller renewable generating facilities often developed by non-generating entities.

“The Business Renewables Centre will help in that transition in using its vast expertise in running programs, entrepreneurship, innovation, education and other sustainability objectives to make it easier for companies and councils to enter into the renewables market.”

Project partners have already licenced its brand, tools, and resources from the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center (BRC) in the United States, adapting them for the Australian market. The BRC has established itself as a successful model for corporate renewable purchase power agreements (PPA) in the US.

WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said that the Business Renewables Centre Australia will extend the effectiveness of WWF’s Renewable Energy Buyers Forum and the recent growth in corporate renewable PPAs.

“The future of renewables in Australia looks positive because it makes sound business sense. Contracting for long-term renewable energy will save customers money and will support growth in renewable energy infrastructure across Australia,” O’Gorman said.

The overall project, according to ARENA, “intends to overcome the lack of resources and awareness of corporate renewable PPAs which is seen as a current barrier to the uptake of renewable energy by Australian organisations.”

BCR-A intends to provide online resources to assist organisations with understanding and procuring renewable energy PPAs, accessible free in the first year of uptake.

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