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City of Newcastle blows off fossil fuels, signs 10 year PPA for wind power

The City of Newcastle has signed a 10 year renewable energy power purchase agreement with energy retailer Flow Power and announced it will move to 100 per cent renewable energy in 2020.

This comes after the City of Sydney announced its $60 million deal with the same retailer earlier this week, committing to purchase only wind and solar to meet its energy needs from 1 July 2020. 

By contrast, the City of Newcastle’s more modest agreement will come into effect earlier in the new year, with power being drawn exclusively from the Sapphire Wind Farm, about 400 kilometres north of Newcastle near Glen Innes.

The PPA will save local rate payers around $1.8 million over the lifetime of the agreement, according to Newcastle’s Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes.

“From 1 January, the City will purchase enough renewable electricity to meet 100 per cent of our operational electricity requirements,” Cr Nelmes said, “enough clean energy will be put into the grid to power every sportsground floodlight, local library, park-BBQ and any other facility Council operates.”

The PPA will complement the council’s existing renewable portfolio, which includes 10 separate rooftop solar arrays, as well as a solar farm on the site of a landfill tip in the city’s west.

Cr Nelmes said this solar farm, which is the size of five football fields, should soon be generating five megawatts of power each year.

“My hope is that power from it will one day power our waste trucks and an organic recycling facility we will soon be building,” she said. “Any excess electricity that we sell back into the grid during the day will fetch a better price than the power we will be purchasing late at night for street lighting, so that’s why the Sapphire Wind Farm is a good fit for us.”

Another bonus sustainable feature of the Sapphire Wind Farm is that it was developed, financed and project managed by locally based firm CWP Renewables, according to the company’s chief executive officer, Jason Willoughby.

“All the wind turbines for the wind farm were shipped through the Port of Newcastle and delivered to the site outside Glen Innes,” Willoughby said. “So it’s great to see that the green electricity now produced by the project is powering the City of Newcastle.”

The wind farm itself is capable of generating enough energy to power around 115,000 homes annually and forms part a 1300 megawatt wind, solar and battery portfolio the Newcastle-based firm is building across Australia. 

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