The world’s largest coal port has announced it will now be powered entirely by renewable energy. The Port of Newcastle announcement comes as coal power generation in Australia’s domestic electricity market fell to its lowest level in the last three months of 2021.
Although the port continues to export an average of 165 million tonnes of coal per year, the measure is part of a plan to decarbonise activity by 2040 and increase the non-carboniferous part of its business so that coal represents only half of the income in 2030. It has signed an agreement with Iberdrola, which operates the Bodangora wind farm, near Dubbo, in the interior of New South Wales, for a retail power purchase agreement that provides the port with large-scale generation certificates linked to the Eolico Park.
“In achieving 100% renewable energy at Port of Newcastle, we are showing tangible evidence of just how committed we are to driving sustainability in every aspect of our business. In doing so, we have also enabled 15 port tenants that work in and rely on Port of Newcastle to make their own operations more sustainable,” said Craig Carmody, the Port’s CEO.
“Port of Newcastle’s 100% renewable power deal directly supports the development of renewable infrastructure and will deliver significant environmental improvements at the port. Through being powered by 100% renewables, we are able to further reduce carbon emissions by almost 5,000 cubic tonnes, which is equivalent to taking 1,000 cars off the road or planting 80,000 trees each year,” he added.
As part of its transition, the port has converted 97% of its vehicles to electric and has committed to other infrastructure projects to decarbonise its operations.
Welcomed the move, Andrew Stock, a retired energy executive and climate councillor and a founding member of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, said, there is still a long way to go. “The diversification of 50% of the income by 2030 is still a decade away. There is still a lot of coal that is going to pass through that port, especially when the IEA and the IPCC have made it clear we have to move,” he said.