Coles has signed a new deal that will see it generate 90% of its electricity needs in Queensland from renewable sources

AAP Image/Joel Carrett
  • Coles signed a 10 year agreement with clean energy company CleanCo, which will see the supermarket giant generate 90% of electricity for its Queensland stores from wind and solar farms.
  • These farms include the The Western Downs Green Power Hub and the MacIntyre Wind Farm.
  • It comes after ALDI and Woolworths also revealed new sustainability efforts.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

The major supermarkets continue to ramp up their investment in renewable energy.

More than 90% of Coles’ electricity needs in Queensland will come from clean energy company CleanCo from July 2022, after the companies entered a 10-year deal.

Under the agreement, Coles will purchase 400GWh of electricity generated from wind and solar farms in Queensland. It includes The Western Downs Green Power Hub southeast of Chinchilla – tipped to become the largest solar farm in Australia once it is built. The solar farm will begin generating energy during the first quarter of 2022.

Energy will also come from MacIntyre Wind Farm, one of the largest in the southern hemisphere. It is set to begin generating energy from 2024.

The deal is set to slash Coles’ electricity carbon dioxide emissions by around 20% or 240,000 tonnes a year. It also secures the development of both the wind and solar projects, which, along with CleanCo’s Karara wind farm, will bring 800 local jobs to Queensland.

“Long-term agreements like this are a great example of how we are able to reduce our energy costs, support the community and make a meaningful impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Coles Chief Sustainability, Property and Export Officer Thinus Keeve said in a statement.

The deal comes after Coles signed a 10-year Power Purchase Agreement with global renewable energy company Metka EGN to buy more than 70% of the power generated from solar plants in regional NSW. It’s enough to power 10% of Coles’ national electricity consumption.

Coles Group CEO Steven Cain said the increase in renewable energy is part of the company’s bid to become Australia’s most sustainable supermarket.

“We have already made changes throughout our business to use energy more efficiently, which has enabled us to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 36.5% since 2009, while growing our team member base and store network,” he said in a statement.

Fellow supermarkets Woolworths and ALDI pledge their renewable energy commitments

In 2019, Woolworths raised $400 million to install solar panels across its stores. More than 140 Woolies stores get their energy from solar panels, with the panels generating more than 15,000 megawatt hours of electricity a year. That’s the same as the energy consumption used across 2,300 homes.

In August, ALDI revealed its plan to use 100% renewable energy at its Australian operations by the end of 2021.

The supermarket snagged two 10 year Power Purchasing Agreements with wind farms in Victoria and New South Wales to power its stores in those states. These farms will generate more than 180,000 MWh of electricity and reduce more than 160,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

On top of that, ALDI is on track to have the largest commercial and industrial solar rollout in Australia to date. It plans to add 102,000 solar panels to more than 250 of its stores and six of its distribution centres by the end of the year.

The solar panels will mean that in total, 15% of ALDI’s total energy use will come from the sun.

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