Australia’s energy sector moved into an exciting new phase this week with a consortium of large energy users, including Telstra, entering into new power purchasing agreements covering the 226 megawatt (MW) first stage of the Murra Warra Wind Farm near Horsham in western Victoria.

Murra Warra has a total permitted capacity of 429MW, which means when fully constructed it will generate more energy than any other wind farm currently operating in the southern hemisphere. Stage 1 on the project will reduce Australia’s CO2e emissions by around 900,000 tonnes every year, the equivalent of almost 320,000 fewer cars on the road.

Through this deal the consortium members, ANZ, Coca-Cola Amatil, Telstra and the University of Melbourne, have secured long-term supply and price security well below the current market level. In return, Murra Warra Wind Farm have secured contracting certainty over the output from the first stage of the project and can move forward to start construction.

We are very excited to be part of this innovative arrangement, one of the first of its kind in Australia.

For us it is the second power purchasing agreement we’ve done for the year, after we supported RES’s 70MW Emerald solar farm in Queensland in May. But this deal is even bigger and we’ve done it as a consortium with other energy users.

From our perspective it’s a clear win, win – indeed it’s a win, win, win.

We get to lock in costs for one of our major inputs, energy, for the long term at well below current prices. We are supporting a high quality renewable energy project in a regional community that will generate enough electricity to power almost 220,000 Victorian homes. On top of that we get to bring some of our enterprise customers and some of Australia’s leading organisations in ANZ, Coca-Cola Amatil and the University of Melbourne along for the ride.

Construction of the Murra Warra Wind Farm will now begin in 2018 and the project is expected to be fully operational in mid-2019. It is expected the construction of Murra Warra Stage 1 will create around 150 jobs as well as other opportunities for businesses in the local area.