RMIT is proud to be taking part in the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project to collectively purchase renewable energy from a newly-built wind farm in Victoria’s west.
The Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP) is the first time in Australia that a group of local governments, cultural institutions, universities and corporations have collectively purchased renewable energy from a new facility.
Led by the City of Melbourne, MREP supports the construction of a new 39-turbine 80MW capacity wind farm at Crowlands, about 200km north-west of Melbourne.
RMIT is committed to purchasing 25 per cent of the its electricity from the Crowlands Wind Farm, further reducing the emissions profile of the University.
Chief Operating Officer Dionne Higgins said RMIT was proud to be a project partner in MREP.
"Building on the recent success of the RMIT Sustainable Urban Precincts Program and on-site solar projects, the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project represents our next step in creating a sustainable future," she said.
RMIT's Utilities Manager Michael Anderson said: "As a major landholder in the Melbourne CBD we have an important role to play in not only lowering our emissions on campus, but driving change through partnerships in the city.”
The wind farm will be owned and operated by Melbourne-based clean energy company Pacific Hydro, with power supplied by its retail arm, Tango Energy.
Pacific Hydro CEO Mike Fuge said the new approach to power purchasing would help all of the partner organisations meet their emissions reduction goals, and directly support the company’s work decarbonising the power system.
“The MREP initiative is a model that can be replicated and will be key to driving future development of new renewable energy generation in Australia,” he said.
"RMIT has a long history of educating members of our industry – today there are many alumni in our ranks, and this world class expertise supports all that we do.
“Beyond the electricity deal, Pacific Hydro is open to exploring further academic partnerships, research opportunities, and ways to support the next generation of graduates, helping them to connect with our industry’s immense potential in the years to come."
Mark Selvaratnam, an RMIT Bachelor of Engineering (Sustainable Systems Engineering) (Honours) student, is currently working in Pacific Hydro’s Wind Engineering team.
"It's so exciting to be involved in such a large sustainability project,” Selvaratnam said.
"Hopefully by 2019, I will be a part of the construction and delivery of renewable energy to RMIT. I think it is a fantastic full circle of my academic and professional career so far."
The project also showcases the future of sustainable energy in Australia.
School of Engineering Senior Lecturer Dr Nirajan Shiwakoti said: "It's great to have our sustainable systems engineering students like Mark involved in the MREP project.
"Energy is one of the focus area specialisations in the sustainable systems engineering program and this collaboration will certainly inspire our younger generation to explore sustainable energy sources and work towards sustainable developments.
“The project is also a good example of the potential job opportunities for students who wish to pursue a career in sustainable systems engineering."
Story: Melinda Crighton