Coles enters 10-year clean energy partnership

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Coles will source more than 90 per cent of its Queensland electricity requirements from CleanCo, after entering into a landmark 10-year agreement with the state-owned clean energy generator and retailer.

Queensland Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham announced that publicly-owned  CleanCo had sealed a 10-year deal with Coles to purchase enough electricity to power more than 90 per cent of its Queensland sites from July 2022.

“Under this agreement, wind and solar energy generated on Queensland’s Southern Downs and Western Downs will be powering Coles supermarkets and other retail outlets right across the Sunshine State,” Dr Lynham said.

Coles will purchase 400 GWh of electricity annually through the agreement. The Western Downs Green Power Hub, set to be Australia’s largest solar farm once built, and the MacIntyre Wind Farm, one of the largest wind farms to be built in the southern hemisphere, will supply three quarters of the Coles’ electricity requirements, with the remainder supported by CleanCo’s low emissions portfolio.

The partnership will reduce Coles electricity carbon dioxide emissions nationally by an estimated 20 per cent or 240,000 tonnes annually.

Last year, Coles became the first major Australian retailer to commit to buying renewable energy through a 10-year Power Purchase Agreement with global renewable power generation company Metka EGN, purchasing more than 70 per cent of the electricity generated by three solar power plants in regional NSW.

Coles Group CEO Steven Cain said the significant increase in renewable energy is a major part of Coles’ commitment to be Australia’s most sustainable supermarket.

In July this year, Coles reached a milestone of one billion pieces of soft plastics recycled through its partnership with REDcycle, a recovery initiative for post-consumer soft plastic.

Since 2011, Coles has worked with sustainability partner REDcycle to recycle plastic bags and soft plastic packaging such as biscuit packets, lolly bags, frozen food bags and bread, rice and pasta bags which cannot be recycled through most kerbside recycling services.

Coles Chief Sustainability, Property and Export Officer Thinus Keeve said Coles is committed to purchasing renewable energy across the country.

“The CleanCo and Metka EGN agreements are great examples of how we can grow renewable energy generation capacity in Australia because they give the developers the certainty they need to invest and we look forward to growing our partnerships with renewable energy providers in the future,” he said.

CleanCo CEO Dr Maia Schweizer said that providing competitively-priced clean energy to Coles allows CleanCo to create growth and jobs in south-west Queensland associated with its 2025 goal of 1000 MW of new renewable generation.

CleanCo’s involvement in the MacIntyre Precinct has nearly doubled the size and capacity of the 1026 megawatt precinct, which will start supplying energy to the grid in 2024.

“We are proud to partner with Coles and provide renewables-backed power for its Queensland sites under one contract,” Dr Schweizer said.

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