Helping big business go renewable: URBNSURF

Jars of happiness

Wave-hungry surfers in Melbourne are getting a little taste of the Bellarine in… Tullamarine. Yep, if you haven’t heard, there’s a massive surf park right next to Melbourne Airport and it’s called URBNSURF.

Transport your mind back to the days of hitting the wave pool at MSAC (if you know, you know). Then, multiply it by about a hundred, add a few heads of scruffy blonde hair and a bunch of surfboards and you’re there.

URBNSURF has a pretty simple goal: get people surfing more perfect waves, more often.

How exactly they make different waves to suit all kinds of surfers, we’re not sure. But what we do know is that we love the way they’ve gone about their energy.

As a bunch of surfers who feel a strong connection to the environment, the people at URBNSURF wanted to find ways to keep their operation as planet friendly as possible, and we were happy to get on … board.

Buying from renewable generators

Getting renewable energy to your site is tricky. Unless you’re making it yourself, it comes from the grid which is supplied by all generators (both renewable and non-renewable). So, how do you make sure your surf park is buying renewable energy?

It’s called a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). While it doesn’t mean electricity travels directly from the renewable generator to your business, it’s an agreement that lets you single out – and support – a specific renewable generator.

We set URBNSURF up with a PPA that lets them buy all their energy from Granville Harbour Wind Farm via our parent company, Hydro Tasmania. Granville Harbour is in Tassie, sitting right on the coast (presumably to maintain the strong surf vibes).

If there’s a wind drought, Hydro makes sure to fill any gaps with the hydropower they generate.

Rainbow seeds
Surfers are fans of the coast. Granville Harbour Wind Farm is fans on the coast.

Jumping solar hurdles

Solar panels are all the rage with businesses who have a bit of roof space, but URBNSURF had something to contend with that most businesses don’t. They’re big, shiny, and they weigh about 400,000 kilos.

Yup. Planes.

Because if there’s one person who doesn’t enjoy the sight of 330 solar panels twinkling in the sun, it’s a pilot trying to land their plane. Sunnies weren’t going to do the trick, and that’s why we called on our sister company, Entura.

Entura is made up of a bunch of engineer types who helped URBNSURF with glint and glare studies for their solar panels. The project’s just been sent to the folks at Melbourne Airport for final approval, which means their 100 KW system (about 12x the average Aussie home system) is just about cleared for take-off.

Putting emissions under the microscope

A carbon audit helps you work out where all your business’ carbon emissions are coming from (tip: it’s not just your power use) and finding ways to reduce them. There are three types of carbon emissions:

Scope 1: These are the things you own, mainly cars and facilities. Combustion in cars, leaks from fridges and cooling appliances and any on-site manufacturing count as Scope 1 emissions.

Scope 2: Then there’s the energy you use. Scope 2 emissions are the ones that come from generating the energy you buy. This is anywhere between 30% and 60% of a site’s emissions if they don’t have a renewable energy agreement in place.

Scope 3: Scope 3 emissions is… everything else. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol lays out 15 sources of Scope 3 emissions including business travel, employee commuting, waste disposal, purchases, supplier emissions, investments, franchises, and the emissions caused by customers when using, or disposing of your product.

We’re helping URBNSURF with a carbon audit so they can do one of two things: identify where they can lower their impact (which is always the best option) or – where reducing isn’t possible – make sure they’re covering their emissions with carbon offsets.

Big business, big impact

Around 25% of Australia’s carbon emissions come from business and industry electricity usage. That means big Aussie businesses are in a position to make a lot of positive change by taking a new approach with their energy – and it’s not just URBNSURF who know this.

Our Emerging Technology team is getting together with a bunch of commercial and industrial customers to make their operations more planet friendly. (If you’ve got a commercial or industrial site and you’re thinking about going more renewable, take a look at Momentum’s Solar Power Purchase Agreement and Corporate Power Purchase Agreement).

3 tips for your home

Even if the only energy you look after is what you use at home, there are a few things you can do to make a positive impact:

  1. Reduce your energy use. Scroll down for some of our favourite energy-saving tips.
  2. Choose a power company that lets you get behind renewable generation. As the retail arm of Hydro Tasmania (Australia’s largest renewable generator), Momentum supports the renewable transition.
  3. Add GreenPower to your plan. It’s a government-accredited program that lets your power company buy renewable energy on your behalf and increase demand for renewable energy in Australia.

Ready to switch to a pro-renewable power company?

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