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  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia becomes first Australian company to join global business push for renewable electricity

    Renewable energy is good for the environment and good for the economy – that’s the message from Australia’s largest bank today as Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) pledged to source 100% renewable electricity globally by 2030 to help lower its emissions. 

    CBA becomes the first Australian company to join RE100, the global corporate leadership initiative on renewable power led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP. By making the RE100 commitment, CBA is building corporate demand for clean energy in Australia and overseas, while demonstrating it is a financially sound investment.

    Also today, CBA announced a 12-year power purchase agreement (PPA) from a new 270 MW wind farm, now the largest wind farm in New South Wales. This will see CBA source 65% of its national electricity needs from renewables by January 2019 – further reducing its carbon emissions in Australia by as much as 60%.

    Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group, said: “Around the world forward-thinking companies want access to clean, cheap power that lowers emissions and increases competitiveness. As the first Australian business to join RE100, Commonwealth Bank will achieve exactly that, while helping to lead Australia’s transition to a clean energy future.

    “Long-term renewable energy purchasing agreements like this support the development of new energy infrastructure and actively bring more renewables online. We’re confident that other major Australian companies will follow Commonwealth Bank’s lead.”

    Kylie Macfarlane, General Manager of Corporate Responsibility, CBA, said: “Commonwealth Bank has made significant progress on our climate commitments and to be the first Australian company to join RE100 is a great achievement for us.

    “We continue to build on our track record of reducing energy use, and subsequent emissions, across our branches and offices. Since 2009 we have halved our direct emissions in Australia and we’ve installed solar panels at more than 50 branches across the country.  

    “This power purchasing agreement will see Commonwealth Bank use renewable energy for 65 per cent of our Australian electricity needs which is a significant step towards our transition to 100 per cent renewable electricity use by 2030.”

    The author and sustainability expert Jon Dee, who is helping The Climate Group with the development of RE100 in Australia, said: “Reducing emissions can mean reducing electricity bills. By signing this substantial wind deal and sourcing clean power, Commonwealth Bank will save money compared to the conventional energy it has been buying. This approach sets a positive role model for other Australian companies to follow.”

    CBA already operates on-site solar projects at more than 50 of its branches. Its new PPA will see the company receiving 96,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy annually from the 270 MW Sapphire Wind Farm. The wind farm will generate enough clean energy to power 115,000 homes and displace 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. 

    CBA’s commitment comes three weeks after the first Australian RE100 meeting with speakers including members Fujitsu, Mars and Unilever. Organized and hosted by Arup, the meeting brought together companies and market stakeholders to send a strong demand signal for renewable energy in Australia.

    In total, 155 RE100 companies have now committed to 100% renewable electricity.