McCain Foods builds renewable energy system at Ballarat site

Australian food company McCain Foods has begun the construction of a renewable energy system at its Ballarat food processing facility, that will cut CO2 emissions by over 27,000 tonnes per year.

The company said the new 8.2 megawatt (MW) “behind the meter” system will utilise solar and co-generation technology and will subsidise energy consumption in Ballarat by 39 per cent.

The project is reported to be Australia’s largest “behind-the-meter” renewable energy system, featuring a state of the art 17,000 panel ground mount solar array and a co-generation anaerobic digester, which will use biogas from food waste to generate energy. The solar power set up will also provide electric charging ports and shaded car spaces.

McCain Foods regional president for Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India & China, Louis Wolthers said the latest project is part of the Be Good. Do Good. Sustainability Report launch.

“Globally, McCain Foods is committed to reducing our CO2 emissions by 50 per cent by 2030, ceasing any reliance on coal by 2025, and having 100 per cent of our plants powered by renewable electricity by 2030. This project makes a significant contribution to this target,” Wolthers said.

“There has never been a behind-the-meter system this dynamic in Australia, and we believe it will set a precedent for large-scale projects for other major processing businesses. We continue to demonstrate our commitment to Growing Green and Golden – sustaining communities, local economies, farmers and jobs for generations to come. That means every day, we’re making smarter decisions to reduce our impact on the environment in Australia.”

McCain partnered with renewable energy business Smart Commercial Solar on the project under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) funded by renewable investment fund, Solar Bay.

Huon Hoogesteger, managing director of Smart Commercial Solar, said that they are proud to be involved in the project and look forward to seeing it becoming a commercial reality.

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