Melbourne launches 110GWh renewable energy tender

The power contracted would amount to that produced by a 15-turbine wind farm or a 250,000-panel solar plant.

The City of Melbourne, together with local institutions and corporations, has launched a tender to purchase 110GWh worth of renewable energy for a year through a group-purchasing model. 

Led by the City of Melbourne, the group comprises Australia Post, National Australia Bank, the University of Melbourne, RMIT University, NEXTDC, Zoos Victoria, the City of Port Phillip, Moreland City Council, the City of Yarra, Citywide, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and Bank Australia. 

The amount of energy that would be purchased is equivalent to that generated by a 15-turbine wind farm, or a 250,000-panel solar farm, enough to power 28,475 households in Melbourne for a year. 

The tender, issued under the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project, aims to secure a long-term contract for the newly generated renewable energy for at least 10 years. 

Arron Wood, chair of the City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, said in a statement that the purchasing group expects strong interest from renewable developers and power businesses. 

“Together, we’re finding a new way to drive investment in renewable energy in Australia. By pooling our electricity demand we will achieve enough scale to enable a new renewable energy plant to be built,” he noted.

“The fantastic thing is that the direct renewable energy purchase model is replicable. We've already had strong international interest from local governments around the world about using the model to accelerate the transition to renewables.”

He added that Melbourne was “challenging the market to supply us with the right energy at the right price”, saying that a new renewable energy plant could be constructed within the next two years should the city be happy with the outcome.

The deadline for the tender is set on 23 May. 

Similar tenders have been announced in other regions of Australia. The New South Wales government launched a tender for 137GWh of renewable energy for the Sydney Metro Northwest rail project in January, while in Queensland, government-owned regional utility Ergon Energy is tendering for 150MW of large-scale green power.