Woolworths Group has become the latest Australian company to pledge to power its entire operations with renewable electricity by 2025.
Woolworths has joined the global RE100 initiative. It will build on its network of rooftop solar panels installed in more than 150 national locations by signing power purchase agreement with wind and solar energy providers.
The transition to 100% renewable energy is a "practical step" to meeting its goal of being net positive carbon emissions by at least 2050, Woolworths said.
"We're proud to be joining RE100 and contributing to the collective effort towards a greener future," said Brad Banducci, Woolworths Group CEO. "Moving to 100% renewable electricity is the right thing to do, and something a growing number of our customers, team members and shareholders expect us to lead on."
Woolworths use around 1% of Australia's national electricity, Banducci noted.
"Over the coming years, we'll invest tens of millions of dollars into renewable energy partnerships and prioritise new green energy projects to spur growth in the industry and new jobs in the sector," he said. "We believe this will not only be a positive for our business, but also contribute to a better tomorrow by making green energy accessible to more Australians."
Earlier this week, BINGO Industries also joined RE100 and will also achieve 100%$ renewable energy across its network of facilities by 2025.
"BINGO is committed to decarbonisation in alignment with the Paris Agreement," said Nik Comito, BINGO's group sustainability manager. "We understand that as a growing organisation we have a responsibility to set a target and associated roadmap for carbon reduction.
"Dealing with the impact of BINGO's contributions to climate change, we recognise that we must reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Joining RE100 will build on our previous solar panel installation program and will help us deliver our renewable energy goals."
BINGO has also committed to implementing a Science Based Target to assist in reducing the company's emissions across all operations, the scope of which will include BINGO's fuel consumption and fleet of collections vehicles, the company announced.
"As a business that operates large scale industrial facilities, BINGO has a great opportunity to reduce our emissions through moving to renewables across our recycling facilities," Comito said. "Reducing our reliance on traditional fossil fuel generated electricity will also provide cost savings over the long-term for our business."
Companies should be sourcing their energy needs from renewable sources where possible, said Jan de Vos, portfolio manager at Resolution Capital. Resolution Capital is a specialist global real estate securities manager.
"From our perspective, we will be pressing companies to source all their energy from renewable sources," de Vos said.
"It makes sense most cost efficiently; if you can install solar and be behind the grid, that is preferable to a PPA, but if you don't have enough rooftop space, then a PPA is the only solution."
Resolution Capital recently conducted a survey of Industrial REITs related to insights on the benefits of rooftop installations of solar panels.
"Logistics warehouses are at the forefront of incorporating rooftop solar panels as a source of renewable energy, not surprising given the large surface areas of warehouse rooftops," de Vos said. "This is being driven by a mix of company, investor and tenant demand to reduce carbon emissions.
"Our survey of industrial REITs found most prefer to own, and therefore control, solar panels rather than outsource to a third party.
"The REIT landlords indicated that the return on investment over the useful life of the panels is typically in line with the internal rate of return on the real estate."
For many logistics tenants, rooftop solar panels can generate enough power to cover their entire needs, but more intensive energy users such as multi-storey logistics warehouses, cold storage or highly automated ecommerce facilities still need to rely on the grid for much of their power.
"In some locations, tenants can save up to 30% on their energy bills buying solar power from their landlords - but it is not just about the cost savings and environmental benefits," de Vos said. "Some tenants also view rooftop solar as a part of their energy security plan."