Australia's second most populous city has launched the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project in a bid to form a group purchasing model for clean power.
The city has partnered with the University of Melbourne, RMIT University, technology company NEXTDC, the City of Port Phillip, Moreland City Council, Federation Square, Citywide and Bank Australia.
The group is seeking to buy approximately 120 GWh worth of energy from new utility-scale renewable energy facilities through a group tender process.
The city initiative plans to issue a tender in early 2016 to seek proposals from the market to deliver renewable energy at an attractive price.
The project organisers, who are holding a briefing session on 15 December 2015, said proposals will also need to demonstrate a range of community and economic benefits.
The Melbourne Renewable Energy Project is envisioned to help the municipality reach its goal of achieving 25% renewable electricity by 2018 and zero net emissions by 2020, according to trade press Renew Economy.
Request for Information
The initiative was launched following a request for information (RFI) in 2014 which sought to challenge the market to supply the right energy solutions at the right price.
Commenting on the RFI, Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle added: “We hope this scale of demand will stimulate investment in a new renewable energy project that is shovel-ready and has planning approvals in place.”
The mayor expects that the project will boost employment within Melbourne’s renewable sector.
Councillor Arron Wood, chair of the City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, said Australian and international companies have expressed their interest in operating particularly in the wind, solar and biomass sectors.
Mr Wood said: “We have extensively tested the renewable market to gauge the viability of a group purchasing approach and the market has responded with a resounding ‘yes’.
“Transitioning to a clean energy future is not only good for the environment; it’s a smart long-term business decision.”