Origin Energy has teamed up with Coles in an effort to enhance the energy supply of the prominent retail chain while also expanding Origin’s nationwide Virtual Power Plant (VPP). The collaborative venture involves the implementation of rooftop solar panels and battery storage across Coles’ supermarket locations throughout the nation.
The energy consumption of supermarkets is considerable due to the necessity for lighting, heating, and cooling systems. This concern has spurred the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) to advocate for more robust climate commitments from publicly traded corporations.
In the year 2021, Coles revealed its environmental targets, which encompass generating its electrical power from renewable sources before the conclusion of the 2025 fiscal year. The supermarket giant’s aspiration is to exclusively source its energy from wind and solar resources.
Coles has also made a firm commitment to attaining net zero emissions by 2050, alongside an interim objective of diminishing its scope 1 and 2 emissions by over 75 percent by the close of 2030.
According to Coles CEO Steven Cain, “Our new objectives for Scope 1 and 2 emissions bind us to an escalated reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that surpass the climate aspirations of the Paris Agreement. This collaborative effort will contribute to the well-being of future generations in Australia by collaborating with our customers, suppliers, and community members.”
Coles has already installed solar panels in 87 of its stores and has made strides in enhancing energy efficiency within its outlets. A trial of electric delivery trucks is also presently underway.
The recently announced innovative partnership will entail joint investments in solar infrastructure for as many as 100 Coles supermarkets and liquor stores countrywide. This will result in a collective increase of approximately 20 megawatts in rooftop photovoltaic capacity.
This strategic partnership highlights the feasibility of large and intricate enterprises operating entirely on renewable energy sources. Coles is one of the three most prominent supermarket chains in the country to have committed to exclusively utilizing clean energy. Woolworths has similarly pledged to procure electricity from renewable sources by 2025, while Aldi has already transitioned to solely relying on renewable energy as of the end of 2021.
The fresh collaboration with Origin is poised to aid Coles in reducing electricity consumption at each participating store by an average of 20 percent. Furthermore, it will facilitate Coles in achieving its objective of relying solely on renewable electricity by June 2021.
For Origin, the incorporation of batteries, solar panels, and manageable energy loads from the supermarkets into their VPP will serve to alleviate strain on the energy grid during peak usage periods. It will also empower Origin to regulate controllable energy loads across 150 stores within the nation, for application in the frequency control and ancillary services market.
James Magill, the executive general manager of Origin Zero, noted, “This marks Origin’s most substantial agreement for customer aggregation, offering Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS).”
He further remarked, “This groundbreaking collaboration between two of Australia’s premier retailers in the domains of supermarkets and energy will see these enterprises collaborating to effect more substantial reductions in emissions for Coles.”
As of 2021, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) approximated that supermarkets contributed around 1% of the entire electricity consumption in Australia. Nevertheless, this figure is anticipated to rise in the forthcoming years, as supermarkets strive to diminish their reliance on fossil fuels and fulfill their sustainability targets.
The growing integration of renewable energy within supermarkets underscores the enduring nature of this trend. Supermarkets are progressively embracing renewable energy sources as a means to minimize their environmental footprint and accomplish their sustainability aspirations. This development is advantageous for both the environment and consumers who are seeking more eco-friendly shopping options.