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Coles Secures 10-Year Solar Power Agreement

Coles has secured a 10-year agreement with global renewable power generation company Metka EGN to build three new solar power plants.

The three PV solar plants will be situated outside the regional centres of Wagga Wagga, Corowa and Junee, and will supply more than 220GW/h of energy into the national electricity grid.

The retail giant is expected to purchase more than 70% of the electricity generated to power its facilities across Australia.

According to Coles Group CEO Steven Cain, the increased use of renewable energy was a major part of the company’s commitment to be the most sustainable supermarket in Australia.

“We are thrilled that with this agreement, Coles can make a significant contribution to the growth of renewable energy supply in Australia, as well as to the communities we serve,” Cain said.

“Over the past two financial years alone we have invested more than $40 million in energy efficiency measures, including upgrading all store lighting to LED by the end of 2019 and the installation of solar panels on 30 stores.”

Coles has already made changes throughout its business to use energy more efficiently, which has enabled the company to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 4% over the past financial year, and more than 30% since 2009.

Thinus Keeve, Coles chief property and export officer, believes agreements like this are crucial to growing renewable generation capacity in the country because it gives developers the certainty they need to invest in the technology.

“As well as supporting large-scale generation projects, Coles is working with property partners to increase on-site generation of renewable power at stores and distribution centres,” Keeve said.

“We plan to install solar panels on another 38 stores this financial year and we will be working with our landlords and property developers to identify further locations suitable for on-site solar power generation.”

The project will be developed by renewable energy developer Terrain Solar, with the support of advisory firm PwC.

Metka EGN acquired the portfolio earlier this year and will build, operate and own the plants.

Construction is scheduled to begin in September and the plants are expected to begin supplying power to the grid by July 2020.

Once complete, the plant is expected to support more than 250 jobs in regional NSW, including over 240 during construction and 10 on-going roles.

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