Climate change and energy | Responsible business |

Making good on our renewable energy goals 

By Andrew Penn June 11, 2021

Last year we stepped up to do our part addressing climate change, a defining challenge of the 2020s. This country can become a vanguard in the global race to provide renewable energy bringing with it both economic and environmental benefits, and we’re helping to lead the way. We have achieved the goal of becoming carbon neutral in our operations, and now we are working hard to become leaders in renewable energy with a new wind farm partnership near Goulburn, NSW.

Australia has a huge opportunity to become a global leader in renewable energy, thanks to a rich cache of resources, strong manufacturing sector and a long history of bringing scientific breakthroughs and innovation to the world.

As demand for fossil fuels plummets and renewables rises, it is clear to me that we don’t need to wait for policy to provide direction: the free market has already made its decision. A shift to greener power alternatives is already happening, both here and around the world.

As well as environmental benefits, that shift is bringing enormous economic opportunities for Australia by creating a market where energy is cheap and renewable, attracting energy-intensive industries to our shores, creating jobs and investment in our community and broader economy.

Less climate talk, more climate action

We need to back up our talk with direct climate action by making investments in renewables and more.

Today we’re announcing a new, long-term power purchase agreement with Global Power Generation (GPG) Crookwell 3 wind farm near Goulburn NSW.

Under the agreement, Telstra will guarantee to pay a fixed price for the majority of all the energy produced over the term of the agreement. GPG will retain the remaining and sell it into the market themselves.

All told, the new wind farm will pump 58-megawatts of clean, green, decarbonised energy into the grid every year. That’s enough to power every home in Launceston, Tasmania for a whole year!

When this wind farm starts production in mid-2023, we will be more than halfway to our goal of 100 per cent renewable energy production by 2025. Crookwell 3 joins our stable of renewable energy investments, and when combined with Murra Warra Wind Farm and Emerald Solar Farm, will supply more than 150,000 homes’ worth of non-renewable electricity consumption each year.

By 2025, our plan means we will own or contract renewable energy generation equivalent to 100 per cent of the energy we consume in all of our operations. That includes running our network, buildings and data centres.

The Crookwell project is an important part of Telstra’s renewable energy generation journey and will help decarbonise the Australian electricity grid.

We cannot live in hope that this climate challenge will solve itself. Big businesses like Telstra have a responsibility to be good climate citizens, to have a strategy and to set an example for others. As one of the biggest energy users in the nation, it matters when we take action to both decarbonise our operations and clean up the grid for the future.

Climate change is everybody’s business and there are no sidelines for any of us to sit on when it comes to meaningful action. It affects every business; every industry and every person on this planet, and to do nothing risks everything.

I am proud of the direct action we are undertaking to decarbonise the grid in Australia and secure our renewable energy future.

Network |

How much energy does Telstra’s network use?

By Tom Penny June 5, 2021

How are you reading this right now? On a smartphone? A laptop, maybe? What did you do before opening it? Post a tweet? Potentially scroll TikTok, even? You’d be surprised just how much energy it takes to bring you what you’re after on Australia’s largest telecommunications network. Here’s what’s involved, and what we’re doing to make it more climate-friendly.

Powering Australia’s largest telecommunications network

In the 2019-20 financial year, the energy we used to power our network resulted in 1.2 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. To put that into perspective, it’s what almost 240,000 cars put out on the road in a year.

With the sort of energy we’re using to keep the nation connected, you could power 200,000 homes for an entire year. Or you could charge your phone about 134 billion times.

And the need for powering it isn’t slowing down, either. The amount of data being sent back and forth on our network grew by 27 per cent in FY20. That number is likely to be higher in this financial year, following a time where most of us moved online to work, learn and see friends during various COVID lockdowns.

We’re being open about how we use energy, and our impact on the climate, so we can show you how we plan to offset its usage.

So how do we balance reducing our emissions with a growing demand for connectivity?

Making a difference

Last year we went carbon neutral in our operations through Climate Active, making us only the second telco in the nation to do so (right behind our subsidiary, Belong).

We did it by purchasing 2.3 million carbon offset credits from projects that avoid, reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions from being released in the atmosphere such as the Southern Aurukun Savanna Burning Project in Queensland and the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Project in Western Australia.

We also integrate renewable energy through our Power Purchase Agreements with Victoria’s Murra Warra wind farm and Queensland’s Emerald Solar Farm. Investing in renewables is another key part of emissions reduction plan.

As we continue to use up our global carbon budget, carbon credits will become an even more important tool to offset the emissions of organisations as they work to reduce their own impact. This increased demand for credits creates an incredible opportunity for Australia to grow the domestic carbon market to contribute to the global challenge of climate change.

Climate change is accelerating, and the effects are being felt more harshly each year. We pay the energy bill to keep the network running, but it’ll be our kids who pay in the end if we do nothing or if we do not act quickly or strongly enough.