McCain to cut CO2 with new renewable energy system

McCain Foods Australia announced it has commenced construction on Australia’s largest “behind-the-meter” renewable energy system that will dramatically reduce CO2 emissions by 27,100 tonnes per year.

The project at McCain’s Ballarat food processing facility will subsidise McCain’s energy consumption in the region by 39 per cent from reducing emissions at the facility by more than 27,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The 8.2 megawatt (MW) system plans to utilise a combination of solar and co-generation technology, with the solar system funded through a partnership with Smart Commercial Solar Pty LTD under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), funded by renewable investment fund, Solar Bay.

The new system comprises a 17,000 panel ground mount and carpark solar array, and a co-generation anaerobic digester that utilises biogas produced by food waste to generate energy.

Together, the two systems will reduce the site’s reliance on natural gas by 16 per cent, and energy consumed from the grid by 39 per cent.

Louis Wolthers, McCain Foods’ Regional President Australia said the company is committed to reducing its CO2 emissions by 50 per cent by 2030, ceasing any reliance on coal by 2025, and having 100 per cent of our plants powered by renewable electricity by 2030.

“This project makes a significant contribution to this target,” he said.

“There has never been a behind-the-meter system this dynamic in Australia, and we believe it will set a precedent for large-scale projects for other major processing businesses.”

Huon Hoogesteger at Smart Commercial Solar Pty Ltd said the business was excited to be partnering with McCain Foods.

“We pride ourselves on trust and transparency, and delivery of energy solutions that make great financial, social and environmental investments. We’re proud to be involved in this industry-leading project, and we’re looking forward to seeing this become a commercial reality,” he said.

The company operates production facilities, located on three sites in Ballarat in Victoria, Lisarow in New South Wales and Smithton in Tasmania.

McCain Foods Limited that specialises in frozen potato products, vegetables, dinners, and pizza, for both the Retail and Foodservice sectors and Wolthers said the company is committed to its Growing Green and Golden campaign, focused on sustaining communities, local economies, farmers and jobs for generations to come.

“That means every day, we’re making smarter decisions to reduce our impact on the environment in Australia,” he said.

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