Officeworks closes on 100% renewables with solar and storage solution
Australian retailing major Officeworks has flicked the switch on its first behind-the-meter rooftop solar and battery energy storage system as it works towards using only renewable electricity to power operations by 2025 as part of its ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030.
Officeworks’ Warana store on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is now able to be powered by 100% renewable energy following the installation of a 100 kW solar array and 100 kWh lithium battery energy storage system.
When fully charged, the solar and battery system will have enough energy to satisfy approximately 70% of the store’s power requirements. The remainder is provided by an already established renewable energy power purchase agreement (PPA) with Queensland government-owned energy generator and retailer CleanCo.
The 1,722 square-metre Warana retail outlet is the first of Officeworks’ 166 stores nationwide to be fitted with a behind-the-meter solar and battery storage system but Officeworks Energy and Carbon Manager Patrick Heagney said the company aims to have all Queensland stores running on 100% renewable energy within two years.
“While Warana is the first Officeworks store capable of using 100% renewable energy, much of our store network uses onsite generation and where possible renewable electricity procurement,” he said. “By 2025 all Queensland stores will operate using 100% renewable energy, which is an important step as a brand, as we work towards using 100% renewable energy by 2025 and net-zero emissions by 2030.”
Officeworks, as part of the Perth-based Wesfarmers retailer conglomerate, inked a long-term agreement with CleanCo in 2022 to source renewable energy from large-scale wind and solar farms to power its stores.
The renewable energy will come from CleanCo’s offtake agreements with French developer Neoen’s 400 MW Western Downs Solar Farm near Chinchilla in Queensland’s southwest. The PPA will also utilise energy sourced from the 1,026 MW MacIntyre Wind Farm being built by Spanish renewables developer Acciona Energia near Warwick in Queensland’s Southern Downs region.
Officeworks Chief Financial Officer Brendan Hargreaves said the agreement with CleanCo would be critical for the company to achieve its renewable energy ambitions but said the introduction of behind-the-meter battery energy storage is also a significant step forward.
“The introduction of our first lithium battery is an important step for our business, and we’re really proud that we can deliver something that’s good for people and the planet, while also making good business sense,” he said.
“The rising cost of living, increasing energy prices, inflationary pressure, and the impacts of climate change, means that we need to look at new ways to innovate, while ensuring we’re investing in a sustainable future for us all.”
“By creating and procuring our own energy, and working alongside clean energy providers like CleanCo Queensland, we can create our own energy and lower our costs of doing business – all while knowing that we’re making a positive impact for future generations.”