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Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has signed a ten-year renewable power purchase agreement (PPA) with ZEN Energy that is expected to cut its carbon emissions in half. 

Through the agreement, 26 CSIRO-managed research sites in ACT, NSW, and Victoria will be supplied by renewable generation from two regional solar farms.  

This includes the iconic Parkes Observatory in regional NSW, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Centre in Tidbinbilla and the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness in Geelong, the site of key research in the rapid global response to COVID-19.

The agreement is the largest of its type in place for a Federal Government agency.

CSIRO Director of Business and Infrastructure Services, Dave Agnew, said the agreement will enable CSIRO to halve its annual carbon emissions associated with electricity use at CSIRO sites.

“This is a very significant step towards being net-zero in our operations, and is in line with our broader remit to help Australia navigate to a low emissions future,” Mr Agnew said.

CSIRO’s energy research portfolio is delivering affordable, reliable and sustainable solutions for the nation.

This includes innovation and simulations to support Australia’s electricity network transformation, and key low emissions technologies like hydrogen, that will drive significant emissions reduction.

“As a world leader in sustainability research, CSIRO is committed to innovative science and technology that reduces emissions and global climate change impacts,” Mr Agnew said.

“We aspire to be an organisation that promotes and demonstrates sustainable operations and practices that are consistent with our science and innovation impact.

In addition to entering into a commercial PPA, CSIRO and ZEN are exploring opportunities to undertake collaborative renewable energy science projects.

The new PPA follows CSIRO’s recent completion of a solar photovoltaic (PV) roll-out across ten sites nationally.

The PV installations have the capacity to generate more than five megawatts of renewable energy and reduce CSIRO’s carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions by around 5900 tonnes each year.

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