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Charities electricity bills halved in new energy initiative

An EnergyAustralia initiative will see charities electricity costs halved – if they turn into the largest collection of “virtual power plants”

Charities could have its electricity bills halved in a new initiative that would see them turned into “virtual power plants” to collect its own energy.

EnergyAustralia announced that with a $15 million boost from the sales of renewable energy certificates, participating charities would be part of a plan to use energy more sustainably, effectively cutting down energy overhead costs by up to half.

EnergyAustralia NextGen Executive, Andrew Perry, said: “When we find ways for a charity to spend less on electricity, it means more of the funds they raise can go toward doing what they do best – helping vulnerable people in need.”

Through the Power for Good program, the company will use net proceeds from the sale to do energy audits of charities to identify how to use energy efficiently. Based on findings, EnergyAustralia will install batteries, smart energy management systems and solar PV to provide advice for upgrading appliances.

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“This initiative will also deliver more flexible demand response to help ensure the electricity market can supply reliable and affordable electricity to all consumers,” Perry said. “The program will add to the more than 50MW portfolio of demand response EnergyAustralia has already built to help the grid meet peak demands.”

Berry Street, the largest independent provider of child and family services in Victoria and one of EnergyAustralia’s charity partners through its workplace giving program, is working towards becoming the program’s foundation participants.

Berry Street’s CEO, Michael Perusco, said: “We are excited at this opportunity to even further reduce our costs, so that more of our funds can go towards helping children.”

Perry said the program will be expanded to other charities and other states. As more charities join, the initiative could create one of Australia’s largest “virtual power plants” that could link solar and battery systems to a remote management system.

This builds on EnergyAustralia’s partnership with VincentCare, which was provided with $500,000 of energy efficient heating and cooling systems.

CEO of VincentCare, Quinn Pawson, said: “Our partnership with EnergyAustralia is leading the way to not only better energy solutions for our flagship Homeless Hub, but also to cleaner and more efficient solutions for a future energy grid.”

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