Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has announced a 10-year clean energy Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Ross Garnaut’s Sunshot owned Zen Energy.
The deal is set to halve the national science agency’s electricity-sourced CO2 emissions. It is the largest PPA yet signed by a Commonwealth government agency, according to CSIRO.
In The Way of Zen, Alan Watts tells us that Zen is not a religion or a philosophy, nor even a psychology or a science – it is a way of liberation. In this way, the transition to renewable energy is a Zen transition, for it is liberation from the fossil fuel fetters of finitude and into a present and future of renewable infinitude, the only way to self-sufficiency. CSIRO appears to be on the way to Zen through this PPA, utilising the 128 MW Nurmurkah Solar Farm in Victoria and and the 132 MW Nevertire Solar Farm in NSW.
These renewable sources will now electrify 26 CSIRO-managed research sites in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Victoria, including the legendary Parkes Observatory and the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness in Geelong, a key research centre in the fight against Covid-19.
“This is a very significant step towards being net-zero in our operations, and is in line with our broader remit to help Australia navigate to a low emissions future,” said Dave Agnew, CSIRO's director of Business and Infrastructure Services.
The deal also follows the recently completed rollout of 5 MW of solar PV across 10 CSIRO sites nationwide.
The way of Zen
British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta, owner of Whyalla steelworks, sold Zen Energy back to Australian economist professor Ross Garnaut in August. The company is now part of Garnaut's Sunshot Energy business. According to the ABC, Garnaut said at the time of the deal that Zen Energy would “look forward to partnering with new utility-scale renewable energy projects across the country to enable us to supply 100% renewable energy at low cost and high reliability to our growing customer base.”
The PPA with CSIRO demonstrates that Zen Energy is doing exactly what Garnaut said it would.
Interestingly, the PPA is not the limit of the partnership between CSIRO and Zen Energy, as the pair are also looking to collaborate on scientific projects in renewable energy.
“We aspire to be an organisation that promotes and demonstrates sustainable operations and practices that are consistent with our science and innovation impact,” Agnew said. “As a world leader in sustainability research, CSIRO is committed to innovate science and technology that reduces emissions and global climate change impacts.”
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