Telstra tops Aussie telcos, tech companies in renewables report card

As assessed by Greenpeace Australia.

pdf, second renewable energy project in Australia

Telstra has been ranked ahead of other Australian telcos, data centre and tech companies for their renewable energy commitments in new report card from Greenpeace Australia.

The report [pdf], released on Friday, found Telstra was leading the charge with its 100 percent commitment to renewable electricity by 2025 and renewable purchasing deals.

It coincides with Telstra announcing a new renewable energy purchase agreement (PPA) with Global Power Generation that will underpin the Crockwell 3 Wind Farm in NSW.

Telstra’s entered its first two renewable energy PPAs with Victoria’s Murra Warra Wind Farm and Queensland Emerald Solar Park in 2017.

As one of Australia's top 20 biggest electricity users, the report said Telstra's commitment to 100 renewable electricity by 2025 was “significant”.

Next on the list of companies is Amazon, which also has a commitment to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2025 and has renewable purchasing deals in place.

Amazon – the country’s 117th biggest electricity user – last year committed to its second renewable energy project in Australia, a 105 megawatt solar farm in NSW.

TPG and Global Switch Australia were ranked third and fourth for their commitments to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2025 and 2030, but no renewable purchasing deals.

Next DC – which has a purchasing deal, but no timeline on its 100 percent renewable electricity commitment – took out fifth place, followed by Equinix Australia and Fujitsu.

Optus – the second largest telco emitter after Telstra – and NBN Co were the worst performers, with no 100 percent renewable commitments and no purchasing deals.

An NBN Co spokesperson told iTnews, however, that it had recently entered into a renewable energy PPA that will see a new solar farm built in NSW.

Greenpeace Australia’s REenergise campaign director Lindsay Soutar said the rankings show telecommunications is one of the leading industries for renewable energy transition.

She added that telco, tech and data centre companies “consume approximately 4 percent of Australia’s electricity”, equivalent to 580,000 homes or more than all homes in Adelaide.

“As this new ranking reveals, some Australian telcos and tech companies, such as Telstra and TPG Telecom, are on a super-fast stream to clean energy,” Soutar said.

“But some of the local tech industry is still buffering, with big players such as Optus and NextDC yet to say yes to a 100% renewable electricity target.”

Soutar said that overall, Australian telcos and IT services were “improving, but could do better”, with “Australian data centres in particular are a growing source of greenhouse gas emissions”.

“Of the data centre companies, Global Switch is leading with a commitment to 100 percent renewable electricity,” she said

“However, NextDC and Equinix still need to set hard timelines for the renewable energy transition and Fujitsu’s target year of 2050 is woefully inadequate.

“Greenpeace is now calling on Optus to dial in to the telco race to renewables and commit to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2025, and to sign up to the global RE100 initiative.”

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