Woolworths has been building on its solar power capacity with each new DC. Photo shows the Melbourne South Regional Distribution Centre under construction.
Woolworths has turned the first sod on a $57 million expansion of the existing Adelaide Regional Distribution Centre (ARDC). The project is expected to create approximately 140 local jobs throughout construction as Woolworths and Hutchinson Builders partner with local businesses on the 14 month building works. The expanded ARDC is designed to deliver fresher, faster and more frequent deliveries to supermarkets in South Australia and the Northern Territory by mid-2020. On completion, the expanded centre will span 94,000 square metres – more than four times the size of Adelaide Oval – boosting the capacity of the temperature control and ambient warehouse sections of the Gepps Cross site. These expanded operations are set to significantly strengthen Woolworths’ 7-day-a-week delivery of fresh produce to communities across South Australia as well as into the Northern Territory. Woolworths chief supply chain officer Paul Graham said: “This $57m expansion of our Adelaide DC forms a key part of our ambition to create a best-in-class supply chain network for our customers. “The site’s proximity to the Adelaide markets has always been a strength, but this upgrade will allow for more frequent and faster deliveries to our stores to help fulfil our fresh food promise. “We partner with dozens of local suppliers in South Australia, connecting products from growing regions including the Northern Adelaide Plain, South Murraylands, Riverland, Mallee, the Lime Coast and Adelaide Hills, to our customers. “We have a long and proud history in South Australia, and this investment demonstrates our commitment to continued growth in the state and local jobs.” Sustainable energy will help power the expanded distribution centre with Woolworths to install 3,500 solar panels (1.6MVa system) across the rooftop. This is the largest solar installation in Woolworths’ Australian network, and larger than the current installation at Adelaide airport. The $2.5 million solar installation will provide around one-fifth of the centre’s energy needs, and produce enough green energy to power the equivalent of 300 homes. Construction of an expanded recycling facility for pallets is also part of the project, reflecting our commitment to further reducing plastics and cardboard within our supply chain. The expansion of Adelaide Regional Distribution Centre is to be funded by landowner, Growthpoint Properties, under a new 15-year lease over the entire distribution centre.
CEFC finance for the Numurkah Solar Farm is supporting a path-breaking example of how solar energy can deliver cost-effective electricity for Victoria’s energy-intensive services and manufacturers. Even before work has begun on the 100MW (AC) (128MWp) solar development in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley region, developer Neoen has secured major power supply contracts for both the Laverton steelworks, in Melbourne’s west, and the Melbourne tram network. CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said the CEFC commitment of $56 million in debt finance would help accelerate development of the $198 million solar farm. “High grid electricity prices, high gas prices and unfavourable contracting conditions have put pressure on tight operating margins for manufacturers,” Mr Learmonth said. “The lower cost of solar, combined with these types of commercial power purchase agreements, offer manufacturers welcome control over their energy use. “Reducing the electricity bills and carbon emissions of energy-intensive industries such as steel manufacturing is increasingly achievable. The Numurkah Solar Farm contract with Laverton steelworks is an outstanding example of how clean energy can be integrated into manufacturing operations to help decarbonise their production processes and reduce costs with locked-in solar contracts. “For passengers on Melbourne’s iconic tram network, the benefits are also clear. Trams get cars off the road, which is crucial for lowering emissions. Supporting the operation of the tram network with solar energy is a further opportunity to reduce emissions in the transport sector.” Neoen Australia managing director Franck Woitiez said the successful financial close of Numurkah is one of the most significant milestones for the company’s operations locally. “Numurkah is an important project for Neoen,” Mr Woitiez said. “First, because it marks the achievement of our first gigawatt of projects in Australia, either under construction or in operation. And second, because the Victorian Government and ZEN Energy are long-term partners for Neoen and this project proves that collectively, we are moving towards our aim of delivering sustainable, reliable and competitive energy to all Australians.” Neoen expects the Numurkah Solar Farm to generate about 255,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity into the national power grid each year. That’s enough solar to power about 42,000 homes. The project will be constructed over 500 hectares and include about 350,000 solar panels. It is expected to be operating by the middle of 2019. Neoen has contracted 60 per cent of the farm’s projected output to renewable energy retailer SIMEC ZEN Energy, a majority owned subsidiary of the GFG Alliance which operates the Laverton steelworks. SIMEC ZEN Energy will use the energy to support firm retail supply contracts to commercial and industrial customers in Victoria, including the Laverton steelworks. The Victorian Government has contracted a further 30 per cent of Numurkah’s large-scale generation certificates to support its goal of covering the electricity load of Melbourne’s tram network with solar power. Transaction leader Monique Miller said the CEFC expected to see further demand for solar as energy intensive manufacturers seek corporate power purchase agreements to offset their energy costs. “In steel making, energy can account for between 20 to 40 per cent of input costs. It makes good economic sense to find a renewable energy resource that can reduce those outlays,” Ms Miller said. “We expect to see more industrial and commercial businesses contract directly with renewable energy producers to meet their electricity needs in the future, as consumers take more control over their energy needs. This will also strengthen the business case for project developers, giving them security over the sale of their power output as their projects come online.” With this latest investment, the CEFC has committed just over $420 million to renewable energy projects in Victoria, adding approximately 1GW of solar and wind energy to the state’s power supply
Cold storage service provider Laverton Cold Storage has committed to doubling the size of its recently completed facility located in Truganina in Melbourne’s west, an expansion that will increase the building area of the first-stage development to over 12,000m2. Laverton Cold Storage completed a 5,920m2 state-of-the-art, temperature-controlled warehouse and blast freezer building in 2015. The expansion, set to be complete in November 2017, will increase its area by 6,520m2. The expansion will provide additional storage capabilities and expand the facility’s range of temperature-controlled zones for separate product types. “This most recent expansion highlights our growth and is a testament to the level of service we have been able to provide our existing customer base from our new site,” said Richard Ralph, Managing Director, Laverton Cold Storage. “It has also provided us the opportunity to attract new clients, and we are looking forward to having the fully completed site operational as we amp up for the Christmas period.” This expansion will focus on environmentally sustainable design, in particular, the use of significant solar power to reduce Laverton Cold Storage’s operating costs and footprint over the term of its lease. Consultancy firm TM Insight partnered with Laverton Cold Storage in the design and delivery of both stages of developing the purpose-built cold logistics facility. “The developments have been specifically designed to allow Laverton Cold Storage to offer greater storage capacities in an efficient and optimal manner, while also adhering to the lean principles and cold-chain compliance,” said Nathan Bingham, Director, TM Insight. “Due to the service Laverton Cold Storage provides, it was also imperative that we focused on sustainable design to ensure operational and energy efficiencies. These cost saving will no doubt provide a competitive advantage.”