With the amplification of corporate sustainability commitments and an increasingly volatile energy market, many corporations are now looking at renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs), as a means of buying ‘green benefits’ for their brand and hedging against rising electricity costs.
Even previously ambivalent companies are beginning to show a strong interest. Energy bills have increased materially over the last few years, which has forced many to explore new and innovative ways of securing power – at better prices on a secure, long term basis.
But despite the enormous interest being shown towards ‘corporate’ PPAs, very few organisations in Australia have actually taken the plunge, as law firm Baker McKenzie highlight.
The firm’s Special Counsel, Kate Phillips – who is due to speak at the Commercial Solar | Power Purchase Agreements Conference in Sydney – shares some insights into why this may be – and what needs to happen before Australia makes more headway in this space.
“At present there isn’t really a standardised framework for implementing a corporate PPA. The more they are rolled out, the closer Australia will be to achieving that, and the easier it will become for future participants”, says Kate.
The firm have worked with the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage and WWF to develop a toolkit for implementing corporate PPAs. They recognize that many organisations need to be better informed on the opportunities that corporate PPAs offer in Australia, as well as the alternative structures used in implementing them.
“We’re seeing a recent trend where procurement teams and senior management are exploring opportunities for corporates PPAs, alongside the corporate’s sustainability teams”, says Kate.
When asked if the legal sector was up to speed, she acknowledged that there were few law firms actually playing in this space at the moment. But highlighted the need for contracting an energy specialist to help understand the complexities involved.
Hear more from Kate Phillips on the benefits and intricacies of solar PPAs at the Commercial Solar | Power Purchase Agreements Summit – to be held 30-31 May in Sydney.