Meters pay dividends for leading plastics manufacturer
Corex Plastics is one of Australia’s leading suppliers of rigid plastic sheets, with brand names including Corflute, Fluteboard and Armaboard, and over thirty years of experience in innovative plastic manufacturing. Located in Dandenong South, Victoria, Corex Plastics is a member of the South East Melbourne Manufacturers Alliance (SEMMA).
Australia’s manufacturing industry is amongst the most energy intensive in the world, so SEMMA invited its members to work with a leading energy services company to improve their energy management. As part of this collaboration, Corex recognised the need to get a granular understanding of its energy consumption to enable proactive cost management.
Corex subsequently installed an energy metering solution so the business could properly monitor its energy spend. This has enabled Corex to:
Slash energy waste – Corex has saved in excess of $200 a day on non-production days by identifying energy load on lines that were meant to be switched off;
Accurately assign the true cost of energy to each product type and production line – Corex is now able to identify where the costs are being absorbed by both line and expense centre to provide a true and accurate picture of the way energy is consumed within the business;
Identify the most profitable lines and avoid subsidising less efficient products and lines;
Optimise production lines – meters have revealed previously unknown inefficiencies, resulting in big wins, such as 50% savings from a single water pump;
Identify and prioritise efficiency opportunities based on actual energy performance and predicted cost savings; and
Measure and verify cost savings.
The introduction of energy metering and energy management systems has reduced Corex’s average cost of energy per kilo of plastic by 15%, and is enabling a new, ongoing program of continuous improvement in energy management.
Oxford Cold Storage warms to demand response
Oxford Cold Storage employs more than 400 people and operates the largest temperature controlled third-party logistics warehouse in Australia. Its 26-hectare site in Laverton North in Victoria accommodates 13 buildings with a total capacity of 1,040,000m3. 165,000 pallets of meat, dairy and food products are stored at temperatures from 18⁰C to -25⁰C.
Oxford Cold Storage had undertaken substantial energy efficiency improvements over the past eight years, which have allowed the company to double its cold storage capacity while keeping total electricity use at 37GWh per annum. Despite these efforts, during 2018 the company’s annual cost of electricity rose 215% to over $6.4 million. With straightforward energy efficiency opportunities exhausted, Oxford Cold Storage began exploring opportunities to participate in demand response programs with the support of a partner aggregator.
Oxford Cold Storage now participates in two demand response programs. One facilitates reductions in electricity demand by up to 3,250kW for short periods – usually no longer than six minutes. This helps the market operator maintain the frequency in the National Electricity Market (NEM), with large energy users’ electricity loads automatically stopping and starting when required.
The second demand response program is activated during periods of unusually high demand. For example, during heatwaves when air conditioner loads are very high, Oxford Cold Storage can reduce demand by 3,250kW for up to two hours with no impact on business operations or quality.
Since volunteering to provide these services, the compensation payments have offset 10% of Oxford Cold Storage’s rise in electricity costs.
Carlton & United Breweries moves towards 100% renewables
Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) is one of Australia’s most iconic beer companies. It’s history dates back to 1832 and it employs more than 1,500 people around Australia.
CUB acknowledges that it has a role to play in tackling climate change and is committed to an ambitious sustainability agenda, which includes securing 100 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2025.
To this end, in early 2018 CUB entered into a 12-year power purchase agreement (PPA) to procure energy from a solar farm located in Karadoc, outside Mildura, Victoria, developed by BayWa r.e. and constructed by Melbourne-based Beon Energy Solutions. The solar farm is 664 acres and is the largest in northern Victoria. CUB’s PPA provides 74,000 MWh per year of renewable energy, which is enough to power 7,500 homes.
Following the commencement of output at Karadoc solar farm in November 2018, CUB is installing onsite solar generation on the roofs of its breweries at Abbotsford (VIC), Yatala (QLD) and Cascade (TAS).
A healthy bottom-line enables a healthy Australia
Fitness & Lifestyle Group, as one of Asia-Pacific’s largest health and wellness groups, includes well-known brands Fitness First, Australia, Goodlife Health Clubs Australia, Barry’s Bootcamp Asia-Pacific, Jetts Fitness and Zap Fitness. The group helps 725,000 members in Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia live healthier and more active lives.
With a portfolio of over 400 owned and operated fitness clubs across Australia, Fitness & Lifestyle Group has a considerable energy load. And with some of the group’s gyms operating 24/7, the company works with a leading energy services company to optimise its energy strategy.
One of the ways in which Fitness & Lifestyle Group was able to improve its energy management was by working with its energy services provider to monitor energy market behaviour and model future market trends. By doing this the Group has been able to enter into a two-year fixed term electricity contract that is saving the company $3 million.
In addition to energy procurement, Fitness & Lifestyle group is engaged in an Active Energy Management journey with its energy consultant where the company not only procures energy at a competitive price, but also optimises its energy usage through the uptake of energy efficiency measures.
Driving up the sustainability of government vehicle fleets
Australia’s electricity generation mix is transitioning away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy, bringing down the carbon intensity of electricity. However, the carbon intensity of Australia’s transport sector is reducing at a much slower rate.
For governments to achieve their net zero emissions objectives, motor vehicle fleets owned by government agencies – particularly emergency services – will need to transition to low carbon alternatives. As a start, Ambulance services across Australia are prioritising the purchase of fuel-efficient vehicles.
The ACT Government is going further, by committing its directorates and agencies to ensure:
At least 50% of all newly leased ACT Government fleet passenger vehicles are zero emissions vehicles in 2019-20; and
All newly leased ACT Government passenger fleet vehicles are zero emissions vehicles from 2020–21.
This type of government procurement policy can also help shift the private sector, demonstrating the viability of new technology and driving broader sectoral change.
Peninsula Health EPC to save millions
In Victoria, Peninsula Health is investing $7 million to increase its energy efficiency and improve frontline services. The investment will fund new lighting, heating and cooling upgrades across Peninsula Health’s two hospitals, two major rehabilitation facilities and one other local health facility, which is also having a solar array and battery installed. The use of an EPC means that the savings are guaranteed, reducing the risk for Peninsula Health, and ensuring that the promised financial benefits are delivered.
Peninsula Health is delivering this project with the support of the Victorian Government’s Greener Government Buildings program and a no-interest loan from the Victorian Government.
The overall project will reduce annual utility costs by $1.2 million, or 14%, reduce annual energy consumption by 23%, and emissions by over 4,000 tonnes, or 21%.
In 2017, the Greener Government Buildings program committed a further $26 million to health services to finance energy projects. These upgrades to Victorian hospitals are estimated to save more than $70 million over the life of the investments, and cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20,000 tonnes each year.
Sydney Harbour Bridge lights the way
Governments are investing in energy efficiency projects of all sizes. Notably, the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage (OEH) offers a range of programs for supporting the uptake of energy efficiency through the Government Resources Efficiency Policy (GREP). One such program for smaller upgrades is the Small Sites and Heritage Energy Efficiency Scheme (SSHEES), which is a grants scheme that was used by the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to upgrade the Sydney Harbour Bridge’s 65 lights to LED.
The new LED lights use 31% less energy and have improved illumination of the road, making it safer to cross the bridge. The project generates annual cost savings of $2,000 and emissions reductions of 2.7 tonnes. The cost savings generated by the lighting upgrade will be reinvested back into maintaining the bridge so that it may preserve its reputation as a world-famous, Australian landmark.
Renewable energy in the public sector: off-site renewable energy generation
Government agencies can contract with an off-site renewable energy generation project through a power purchase agreement (PPA). In NSW, Sydney Metro North West has negotiated a 15-year agreement with a large-scale solar farm to offset the project’s greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce energy costs and exposure to electricity market volatility.
If a government agency is too small to contract directly, it can take part in a PPA buying group, which allow a number of organisations – private and/or public sector – to collectively contract the supply of renewable electricity from an off-site generator. Led by the City of Melbourne, a group of local governments, businesses and government agencies have already contracted part of their electricity supply requirements from an off-site wind farm through participation in the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP) buying group. This includes Fed Square Pty Ltd, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust and Zoological Parks and Gardens Board (Zoos Victoria) – Victorian government agencies – and Australia Post, RMIT and the University of Melbourne – Australian government agencies. MREP demonstrates how government agencies – and others – can come together to take an active role in securing their energy procurement and mitigating climate change by procuring renewable electricity supply.
Government agencies can consider these opportunities, but should be aware that these PPA arrangements could be considered a ‘finance lease’ under Australian Accounting Standards. In that case, they may need to seek approval from a relevant Minister to grant them power to enter into contracts.
Data and analytics driving efficiency at the G
The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is one of the most iconic stadiums in the world, attracting millions of patrons to its hallowed turf every year. But unbeknownst to punters, the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) has moved decisively to take another leadership position, putting in place a best-in-class energy and carbon management strategy.
The MCC started by working with experts to identify big-ticket energy savings opportunities like LED lighting and demand control ventilation technology. Using an energy performance contract – and taking advantage of discounted energy-efficient products enabled by the Victorian Energy Upgrades program – the MCC locked in the financial savings generated by these energy efficiency upgrades. Those initial works were completed in 2015, however, the savings will continue for years to come – including annual electricity savings equivalent to the annual consumption of 835 homes.
Crucially, they haven’t stopped there: the MCC are now using cutting edge sensors and software to monitor electricity and gas usage in real-time. Maintaining a constant watch on this data has driven even further savings, enabling the MCG’s annual electricity savings to more than double to the equivalent of near to 1,900 homes.
Renewable PPAs the complete package for energy intensive manufacturer Orora
Headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, Orora is a global packaging producer that employs more than 6,700 people across 43 manufacturing plants and 88 distribution sites in seven countries.
As a major manufacturer in Australia, Orora operates an energy intensive business where surety of supply and price certainty is critical. Having made significant investments in the energy and process efficiency of plant and equipment, Orora took the proactive step of securing two long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with energy providers. Under the innovative arrangements, the energy providers supply wind generated electricity to Orora’s operations in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, where Orora runs its largest and most energy intensive plants. As a result of the PPAs, Orora has secured the continuing supply of renewable energy for volumes equivalent to 80% of the company’s total electricity demand in Australia.
Importantly, the most recent PPA incorporates a fixed price component for the electricity, where the risks associated with fluctuating output and spot market exposure is carried by third parties that specialise in the provision of energy market insurance products.
This shift towards renewable energy not only has a positive environmental impact, but also gives Orora commercial certainty by reducing the company’s exposure to fluctuating wholesale energy prices.
Victoria Cold Storage takes the heat off the grid with demand response
Victoria Cold Storage is a traditional logistics business dedicated to the distribution and warehousing of dry, chilled and frozen food products. However, over the last year the business has joined the cutting edge of Australia’s energy transformation by participating in a demand response trial conducted by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
At its two facilities in Campbellfield, Victoria Cold Storage provides the system operator, AEMO, with the capability to reduce demand, which can be activated during system emergencies when grid demand threatens to outstrip supply.
With the assistance of a partner aggregator, Victoria Cold Storage installed control equipment that automatically and safely curtails load when requested by AEMO. By altering the use of refrigeration equipment for brief periods of time, each facility is able to reduce electricity demand by about 350 kW, without disruption to normal operations or product quality.
The program has a financial benefit for the company, as it receives payments each month for making their flexible load available to the grid. Best of all, the company is helping out other businesses and the broader community by increasing the reliability of the energy system for everyone.
Bright ideas drive down contracting costs at Luna Park Sydney
Luna Park’s thousands of lights, which shine across Sydney Harbour every night, are iconic. Yet, along with ride motors, air conditioners and refrigeration, they contribute to a very substantial energy bill every year.
With electricity prices rising, and after many years of managing their own energy procurement, Luna Park worked with an external procurement expert to ensure the business got the best result. Luna Park locked in an energy contract that is saving the park over $200,000 per year.
As well as sorting out the business’ procurement, Luna Park undertook an energy audit to drive the park’s energy bills down even further. This led to a lighting upgrade that is paying back rapidly. With other energy efficiency initiatives in the works, management is confident it can keep the lights twinkling and the rides running ofr many more years to come.