July 16, 2020

McCain Foods constructing emission-reducing system at Australia facility

McCain Foods Australia has commenced construction on a renewable energy system that will reduce emissions from its Ballarat food processing facility by more than 27,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The project, which will house Australia’s largest “behind-the-meter” renewable energy system, will subsidize McCain’s energy consumption in Ballarat by 39%.

The 8.2 megawatt (MW) system plans to utilize a combination of solar and co-generation technology, with the solar system funded through a partnership with Smart Commercial Solar Pty LTD under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), funded by renewable investment fund, Solar Bay.

The new system comprises a 17,000-panel ground mount and carpark solar array, and a co-generation anaerobic digester that utilizes biogas produced by food waste to generate energy. Together, the two systems will reduce the site’s reliance on natural gas by 16%, and energy consumed from the grid by 39%.

The solar power, which will be generated from unused flat space on existing land surrounding the plant, will also provide three electric charging ports and shaded car spaces.

McCain Foods’ Regional President Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India & China, Louis Wolthers, said the renewable energy system is one example of many initiatives to reduce McCain’s CO2 emissions in line with the business’s global “Be Good. Do Good. Sustainability Report” launch.

“Globally, McCain Foods is committed to reducing our CO2 emissions by 50% 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,” Wolthers added.

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