Supermarket chain Coles has signed a landmark agreement with electricity and gas retailer Origin Energy which involves both companies co-investing in renewable energy and battery assets for up to 100 Coles stores across Australia.
20 megawatts worth of solar panels are set to be installed at all 100 Coles supermarkets and liquor stores nation-wide by 2026.
Batteries set to capture and store excess renewable electricity generated on-site will also be installed at one-third of the locations.
Coles Head of Energy Jane Mansfield stated that 20 sites are to be completed by 2024, resulting in lowered emissions, reduced electricity consumption and decreased operational costs.
“Over the next three years, we expect to install solar panels on 100 Coles supermarkets and liquor stores. These stores will have on average up to 20 per cent of their electricity needs met by renewable electricity generated on-site.
“Not only will this investment in renewables help us reduce our emissions, it will also lower our operational costs and allow us to meet more of our energy needs from our own on-site solar generation,” said Mansfield.
All Coles solar panels, batteries and energy assets — which includes in-store heating, cooling and refrigeration systems — will be connected to Origin’s virtual power plant to help ease pressure on the energy grid during peak periods of demand.
The agreement promises to reduce each participating stores’ electricity use from the grid by approximately 20 per cent on average and help achieve Coles’ 10 per cent renewable electricity goals by June 2025.
Origin Zero Executive General Manager James Magill said the energy provider is thrilled to be working with Coles to achieve tits transition to cleaner and smarter energy solutions.
“This…alliance…will see the companies co-invest in renewable energy and battery assets to help deliver greater emissions reductions for Coles.
“This also marks Origin’s largest customer aggregation agreement providing Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS), allowing us to orchestrate 10 megawatts of flexible energy use across heating, cooling and refrigeration assets at select Coles stores, which helps to support stable and safe operations of the grid,” said Magill.
Solar panel installation is currently underway at six Coles stores in Victoria.
The project builds on the solar panels that have already been installed across 87 Coles stores.
Coles’ other cleaner energy initiatives include electrification of gas assets, trial runs of an electric delivery truck and utilising renewable energy from Australian wind and solar farms.