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Media Release

CBA to use renewables for two-thirds of electricity needs

CBA to use renewables for two-thirds of electricity needs

Image source: Sapphire Wind Farm

Commonwealth Bank will source 65 per cent of its national electricity needs from renewable energy from January 2019, after signing a unique agreement with the largest wind farm in New South Wales.

CBA has signed a 12 year Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) with 270MW Sapphire Wind Farm, which will see the majority of CBA’s NSW and ACT operations powered by renewable electricity, predominantly from wind power. The supply-linked PPA is a unique corporate deal with fixed baseload electricity purchased alongside an equal number of large-scale generation certificates.

Under the agreement, CBA will receive 96,000 megawatt hours (MWh) annually from the Sapphire Wind Farm, which is part of the ‘Grassroots’ renewable energy platform built by CWP Renewables and the Partners Group. The wind farm was recently constructed in northern NSW. CBA is a key financier to the Sapphire Wind Farm Project.

Kylie Macfarlane, CBA General Manager of Corporate Responsibility, said: “We continue to build on our strong track record of reducing energy use, and subsequent emissions, across our branches and offices. With this agreement, we will further decrease our carbon emissions by 60 per cent.

“To be able to use renewable energy directly from the supplier for 65 per cent of our Australian electricity needs is a significant step towards transitioning to 100 per cent renewable electricity use.”

Alex Hewitt, CWP Renewables CEO, said: “Sapphire Wind Farm will add over 800,000 GWhrs of clean energy into the national electricity grid by December.

“Commonwealth Bank is taking the lead here as other large corporate energy users are starting to actively seek green energy direct from the generator.

“To have Commonwealth Bank as one of our direct buyers reinforces the fact dispatchable low-cost renewable energy is viable and economical.”

To further demonstrate the Bank’s commitment to a lower carbon future, CBA has also become the first Australian corporate to join the global RE100 initiative – setting a goal to achieve 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2030.

RE100, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, brings together the world’s most influential global businesses who have committed to source 100 per cent of their electricity consumption from renewable energy by a specified year.

Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100 at The Climate Group, said: “Around the world, forward-thinking companies want access to clean, cheap power that lowers emissions and increases competitiveness.

“As the first Australian business to join RE100, Commonwealth Bank will achieve exactly that, while helping to lead Australia’s transition to a clean energy future.

“Long-term renewable energy purchasing agreements like this support the development of new energy infrastructure and actively bring more renewables online. We’re confident that other major Australian companies will follow Commonwealth Bank’s lead.”

CBA has already implemented a number of energy efficiency initiatives across the country. The bank operates 20 Green Star rated retail branches and on-site solar PV production at more than 50 branches.

Background information

  • Since 2009, CBA has reduced its Australian-based direct emissions by 54 per cent.
  • The volume of renewable electricity procured via the PPA will further reduce CBA’s emissions by 60 per cent.
  • The PPA is 100 per cent renewable with an equal number of large-scale generation certificates purchased alongside the delivery of the renewable power for baseload energy.
  • The majority of the power will come from wind. The PPA also allows for an expansion to solar and battery sources when stable baseload energy is required.
  • The PPA will be administered by ERM Power and will commence from 01 January 2019.
  • In August 2017 Commonwealth Bank announced its Climate Policy Position Statement providing a framework for how it is responding to the challenge of climate change with a number of targets. CBA’s progress on these targets is outlined in the below table.

Metric Target Status update

 Metric   Target   Status update 
Exposure to low carbon projects $15 billion by 2025  $7.3 billion, as reported for FY18 
Sourcing renewable energy for our power needs  25% by 2020 PPA signed for 65% by 2020
Emissions per full time employee 2.0t CO2-e by 2020  2.3 tCO2-e, as reported for FY18
Solar panels on branches 1,250 kW by 2020 752 kW, as reported for FY18


CWP Renewables and Grassroots

CWP Renewables has been developing renewable energy projects in Australia since 2008. CWP and Partners Group are building out the largest renewable energy portfolio in NSW comprised of wind/solar and battery storage. This renewable energy generation portfolio is called “Grassroots” and is currently providing green power directly to a number of customers including the ACT Government, which is on track to meet its target of 100 per cent renewables by 2020. The Sapphire Wind Farm will provide enough clean energy to power around 115,000 homes and displace 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. The last turbine for the project was erected in early November. The wind farm is just stage one of a $1 billion renewable energy hub that will blend wind and solar with battery storage.

ERM Power

ERM Power is an Australian energy company operating electricity sales, generation and energy solutions businesses. The company has grown to become the second-largest electricity provider to commercial businesses and industrials in Australia by load (Based on ERM Power analysis of latest published information). A growing range of energy solutions products and services are being delivered, including lighting and energy efficiency software and data analytics, to the company’s existing and new customer base. The company operates 662 megawatts of low emission, gas-fired peaking power stations in Western Australia and Queensland.


Led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, RE100 is a collaborative initiative bringing together the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100 per cent renewable power. Renewables are a smart business decision, providing greater control over energy costs while helping companies to deliver on emission reduction goals. RE100 members, including Global Fortune 500 companies, have a total revenue of over US$4.5 trillion and operate in a diverse range of sectors - from information technology to automobile manufacturing. Together, they send a powerful signal to policymakers and investors to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy. | #RE100 |