Australian biscuit manufacturer Arnott’s Group has signed a deal with CleanPeak Energy to provide 5.25 gigawatt hours of clean energy from solar panels and batteries at its Huntingwood manufacturing facility in western Sydney, to help it become 100 per cent renewable by 2029.
As part of a push to tackle climate change and reduce energy costs for the company, which makes customer favourites such as Tim Tams, Shapes and Jatz, CleanPeak will install a 4.1-megawatt rooftop solar system (comprising 10,000 solar panels) as well as a 15-megawatt-hour battery system.
Arnott’s Group chief transformation officer Simon Lowden said after renewable energy was installed at its two main NSW factories at Huntingwood and Virginia, it would cover 50 per cent of the company’s energy use across the country.
“It’s a massive, significant scale project for us,” Mr Lowden told The Australian Financial Review.
“We had originally committed to net zero for scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2040, but this will advance our agenda by about 10 years. We want to make sure we are part of the solution and this enables us to do that.”
The 44,000-square-metre Huntingwood manufacturing facility operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, running five different automated manufacturing lines, producing about 53 per cent of the company’s total biscuit volume.
The site employs more than 400 people and bakes about 56 million kilograms of biscuits a year.
Renewable switch by 2029
From January 1, CleanPeak will become the energy retailer for Arnott’s Huntingwood and Virginia sites.
It will install a 4.1 megawatt rooftop solar system which will operate alongside a 15-megawatt-hour battery energy storage system, generating more than 5.25GWh of renewable electricity.
CleanPeak – which is a distributed energy specialist and runs 40 sites around the country, including Barangaroo – will then source an additional 17.3GWh of mixed renewable and non-renewable electricity required for the site, progressively moving to renewable electricity from 2023, and reaching 100 per cent by 2029.
CleanPeak chief executive Phillip Graham said about half of the energy use at the Huntingwood facility would come from behind-the-meter resources.
“We’re putting in a significant investment and we’re allowing that to underwrite the baseload usage of the site and we can take on the whole-of-meter risk and deliver a long-term renewables deal that is generally inside what grid electricity pricing is,” he said.
Mr Graham said Arnott’s was expected to save money in the short- and long-term on electricity because generally, behind-the-meter resources could deliver electricity of $100 a megawatt hour, compared to a grid rate of $250 a megawatt hour.
Building works will begin in the coming months, with the installation due to be fully operational by the end of 2023.
Mr Lowden said the 157-year-old manufacturer would bed down the new power deal at the two NSW sites before looking to expand to Melbourne and South Australian facilities over the next few years.