76% of the power we contract to buy is from low carbon sources, and we’re striving to improve this to 100%.*
One of our main source of low carbon energy is through a contract with Cape Byron Power, a sister company that operates biomass generators in northern NSW.
What is biomass energy?
Biomass is plant-based material used as fuel to produce heat or electricity. It’s a renewable source of energy and is also naturally carbon neutral.
Why Cape Byron Power?
Cape Byron Power supplies 100% federally accredited renewable energy fuel sources that comply with Australia’s United Nations’ obligations under the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Accord.
Their sites are co-located adjacent to sugar mills as the electricity is predominantly produced from bagasse (sugar cane milling waste) and supplemented where necessary with the wood wastes described below:
|Bagasse||The plant fibre left over from the sugar cane harvest each year after the cane juice has been removed by the sugar mills.|
|Energy Crops||Such as the wood and plant fibre from purpose grown crops.|
|Woodwaste||Waste timber from sawmill offcuts or from local weed removal that has no other economically beneficial use.|
|Approved Clearance||The waste fibre left over from already approved infrastructure projects being undertaken in the local area such as new roads, dams, transmission lines and subdivisions that has no other economical beneficial use.|
Cape Byron Power uses no plastic waste and has not used any wood sourced directly from native forests in the nine years since Quinbrook took it over (Quinbrook is a major investor in renewable energy projects and the major shareholder in Energy Locals).
Some of the other reasons we contract with Cape Byron Power:
- We believe it’s a better alternative to using fossil-fuels from the grid.
- It means we’re not giving all our money to coal and gas generators, that could contribute to continued fossil fuel investment.
- Cape Byron Power has an emissions intensity of only 0.03 tonnes CO2/MWh. This compares to 0.89 for Eraring coal power station or 1.34 for Yallourn.
- Biomass energy is dispatchable, meaning it can be used to ‘firm’ wind and solar farms which in most cases can’t control when they produce power.
We’re working towards putting in place offtake agreements with local renewables, but this requires a bit more customer scale to do efficiently.
In the meantime, we spend a huge amount of our time supporting projects that are bringing more local renewable generation and storage. Over 40% of our customers have solar PV and over 20% have battery storage. We’re taking actions to reduce the need for traditional generation as we know it today.