In an Australian first, RMIT has joined local governments, cultural and educational institutions and private-sector corporations to invest in renewable energy through a group purchasing model.
The Melbourne Energy Renewable Energy Project brings together 16 organisations across the city in a unique initiative to pool resources to purchase renewable energy at a competitive price.
Stephen Somogyi, RMIT Chief Operating Officer and Vice-President Resources, said the partnership positioned the University as a major sustainability innovator.
“The Renewable Energy Project is an excellent initiative that provides a key opportunity for RMIT to demonstrate sustainability leadership within the community,” he said.
Championed by the City of Melbourne, which is committed to sourcing 25 per cent of the city’s energy from renewable sources by 2018, the project aims to drive investment in renewable energy and includes major organisations such as NAB, Federation Square, the City of Port Phillip, Moreland City Council and University of Melbourne.
The group plans to tender for a project generating 120GWh of energy annually, enough power to run more than 31,000 households in Melbourne for a year.
Somogyi said RMIT’s involvement in the project complemented the University’s current sustainability initiatives.
“It aligns with our existing commitments and priorities – in particular, the Sustainable Urban Precincts Program (SUPP), our $98 million plan to reduce energy, water use and greenhouse gas emissions, through the upgrading of ageing infrastructure in 90 buildings across our three campuses.”
Predicted to be complete in late 2017, SUPP aims to reduce RMIT’s electricity use by an estimated 239 million kilowatt hours over the next eight years, leading to a 30,000-tonne reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Water use will be cut by an estimated 68 million litres.
By Semester 1 next year, SUPP will upgrade air-conditioning services across 45 per cent of the three Melbourne campuses.
Preparations are currently underway for Melbourne Energy Renewable Project partners to approach the market in early 2016. Market and industry briefings are set to commence on 15 December.
Story: Alison Copley