First Australian university to sign 100% renewable electricity contract with Red Energy

Saturday, 15 December 2018

In a sector-leading move, the University of Newcastle has signed a seven-year contract with Red Energy to buy 100% renewable electricity across its Newcastle and Central Coast campuses.

Solar panels on buildings

The move was in response to feedback from students, staff and stakeholders who want to see the University do its bit to tackle climate change through increased investment in renewable energy.

The University of Newcastle is the first university in Australia to sign up to Red Energy’s new 100% renewable product. Its contract commences 1 January 2019, with 100% renewable electricity provided from 1 January 2020, once Red Energy has finished building its solar, wind and hydro capacity.

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, commented: “Social and environmental responsibility is at the very core of our operations. Our students, staff and community told us they want us to demonstrate our commitment to environmental sustainability in a tangible way, so we are extremely pleased to partner with Red Energy to use 100% renewable electricity.

“In addition to making a positive environmental impact, the new contract delivers costs savings that will enable us to continue investing in strategic initiatives. This is about us using our buying power for good,” said Professor Zelinsky.

Paul Broad, Managing Director of Snowy Hydro, which owns Red Energy, added: “this landmark ESA (Energy Supply Agreement) with the University of Newcastle represents one of the first direct off-takes for ‘firmed’ renewable electricity of this type.  On-demand hydro from the mighty Snowy Scheme will underpin our contracted wind and solar generation, meaning Red Energy can supply the University of Newcastle with reliable renewable energy.  As a Novocastrian and a University alumni, I’m delighted the University of Newcastle is leading the way.”

The University of Newcastle has a long history in environmental sustainability, cemented in 1990 with its signing of the Tallories Declaration of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future. More recently, the University made a commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals set down by the United Nations in Paris in 2015.

The Red Energy partnership complements the University’s ongoing solar panel project, which has seen 278 solar panels installed at its Ourimbah campus, and a commitment to installing a further 7,000 solar panels across Ourimbah and Callaghan – one of the largest Photovoltaic (PV) solar installations in the sector. Combined, these installations could power around 500 typical households.

The 100% renewable electricity contract with Red Energy will be in effect across the University’s Newcastle City, Callaghan and Central Coast campuses.

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.