World’s largest coal port flicks switch to 100% renewable energy


From pv magazine Australia

The Port of Newcastle, Australia, has positioned itself as a leader in the transition to renewable energy, as its operations are now powered entirely by green energy.

Newcastle has signed a deal with Iberdrola for a retail power purchase agreement (PPA) that provides the port with large-scale generation certificates (LGCs) linked to the 113 MW Bodangora wind farm near Dubbo, New South Wales.

Port of Newcastle Chief Executive Craig Carmody said that the move is part of a plan to decarbonize the business by 2040 and delivers upon sustainability commitments set in 2020.

“In achieving 100% renewable energy at Port of Newcastle we are showing tangible evidence of just how committed we are to driving sustainability in every aspect of our business,” he said. “Port of Newcastle’s 100% renewable power deal directly supports the development of renewable infrastructure and will deliver significant environmental improvements at the port.”

As the largest port on Australia’s east coast, with approximately 4,400 ship movements per year, the Port of Newcastle is also rated as the largest coal port in the world, exporting an average of 165 megatons of coal a year. Carmody said by switching to being powered by 100% renewables, the port has reduced carbon emissions by almost 5,000 cubic tons, which is equivalent to taking 1,000 cars off the road or planting 80,000 trees per year.

The renewables achievement comes after the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) said a AUD 3 million ($2.2 million) feasibility study would be conducted into the development of a 40 MW green hydrogen hub at the Port of Newcastle. The study, partially funded through AUD 1.5 million from ARENA and to be led by the Port of Newcastle and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, will determine whether the project is deemed to have sufficient potential.

The study will also investigate the potential to scale up green hydrogen production for export, leveraging the port’s existing domestic and international supply chain links. While stage one of the project is underpinned by a 40 MW electrolyzer, the study will also consider the future staged scale-up of an electrolyzer to around 1 GW, with the ability to produce up to 150,000 tons of green hydrogen per year for domestic and export use.

“Port of Newcastle is working to realize projects now that will drive the diversification of our business and the Hunter Region over the next 10, 20, 50 years and beyond,” said Carmody. “We are committed to continuous improvement in line with our Environment Social and Governance (ESG) Strategy and carbon emission reduction targets and look forward to what we can achieve in 2022.”

Iberdrola’s renewable power deal with the Port of Newcastle is the second PPA it has secured for the Bodangora Wind Farm. The company said a PPA for electricity and LGCs for 60% of the facility’s electricity generation is already in place with Energy Australia until Dec. 31, 2030.

The transaction affirms Iberdrola’s position as a major player in Australia’s renewable energy market. With more than 800 MW of operating capacity, 453 MW under construction and a development pipeline of over 1 GW, much of its focus has been on wind energy, with seven operational wind farms totaling over 670 MW, but Iberdrola, which acquired Infigen Energy in 2020, has in recent times turned its attention toward solar and energy storage.

In September, it purchased the 190 MW Avonlie Solar Farm project near Narrandera, in southern New South Wales, and is developing the 320 MW Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park (PAREP) in South Australia. The AUD 500 million project will combine 210 MW of wind with 107 MW of solar to generate an estimated 900 GWh of renewable energy annually, enough to power about 180,000 Australian households each year.

Iberdrola also operates the 25 MW/52 MWh Lake Bonney battery energy storage system in South Australia and has entered into a user agreement with transmission network operator TransGrid in relation to the 50 MW/75 MWh Wallgrove Grid Battery in New South Wales.

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