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AGL Energy is partnering with leading food and agri-business, Olam Food Ingredients (ofi) to drive almond production in the Riverina, announcing that it will build and operate a behind the meter renewable energy power plant for the business.
The grid-connected renewable energy power plant will include a 6 MW (megawatt) solar array and a 4.3 MWh (megawatt hour) battery and produce up to 12,000 MWh of solar generation annually, enough to power 2,200 average Australian households.
AGL Chief Customer Officer, Christine Corbett said AGL was proud to support ofi in lowering their emissions and creating more sustainable operations.
“Projects like this demonstrate how energy and agricultural industries can work hand in hand to drive Australia’s energy transition while also supporting local economies and jobs in our regions,” Ms Corbett said.
“We are using the sun – one of the most valuable assets a farmer utilises – to help ofi ensure its food and fibre production continues to grow and prosper.
“Our team have developed a specialised energy solution that will reduce operating costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions annually by approximately 9,300 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, which is equivalent to taking around 3,000 cars off the road for a year.
“This solution will be an excellent example of how we can provide more energy certainty for the needs of our primary industries, especially for high energy intensive organisations within a difficult to abate sector like agribusiness.
“In turn, the energy produced by this project will also be connected to AGL’s Virtual Power Plant (VPP), allowing any excess power produced at the farm to be accessed by other customers across Australia.
“AGL’s VPP provides a large bank of controllable solar energy that helps to stabilise the electricity grid and further support a transition to a cleaner energy future.”
ofi Senior Vice President, Damien Houlahan said as one of the world’s largest growers of almonds, ofi is committed to reducing its environmental footprint.
“This includes implementing state-of-the-art irrigation systems, creating pollinator habitats, and switching to renewable energy sources,” Mr Houlahan said.
“Partnerships have always been key to use for delivering real change and we’re excited to work with AGL to generate solar power which will have the potential to supply approximately 80% of the energy needs on our Kerarbury orchards.”
The project is expected to be complete by late 2023 and is subject to planning and network approvals.