How SMEs can walk the Net Zero talk

Mojo Power sponsored content with The Australian Business Review released on 25 February 2022, the date of the inaugural Green List of Australia's top 100 Green Power players. 

 

 

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In the path to Net Zero, business is chafing at the bit to lead the way.

 

However, it’s a misconception that it has to be big organisations out in front. If anything, small business is even keener to get onto the front foot in this regard.

They just don’t know how.

“Small businesses want to reduce their fossil-fuel emissions, they want to reduce their carbon footprint, they want to buy carbon-neutral energy, but often they don’t know how to go about it,” says Warren Murphy, managing director of Mojo Power.

Under Australia’s renewable energy target, “eligible” renewable energy generators receive large-scale generation certificates (LGCs) for electricity they generate: one LGC is created per megawatt hour of eligible electricity generated. Registered LGCs can be sold or transferred to entities with liabilities under the Renewable Energy Target (RET), or other companies looking to voluntarily surrender LGCs to account for their consumption. That’s beyond the scope of most SMEs.

‘Businesses can be confident that their electricity usage is matched with legitimate Australian renewable energy’

“Unless your business runs on its own on site solar power – which can be expensive, and often isn’t a viable option for smaller businesses – the system isn’t really set up for a business to use purely renewable energy. No matter how passionate your organisation is about clean energy and climate action, the reality is that the electricity we all buy from the National Electricity Market (NEM) is made up of a mix of about 70–80 per cent fossil fuels, and the rest from renewable sources. At the end of the day, it’s not possible to choose whether you get the renewable energy or the electricity that came from burning coal.”

Even with a carbon-neutral electricity plan — where your power company offsets the carbon associated with your electricity use with carbon offsets — the carbon credits could be coming from offshore projects that don‘t directly help Australia achieve its renewable energy targets. “That really doesn’t achieve as much as what many small businesses want to achieve,” says Murphy.

To redress this, Mojo offers small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SME) clients different ways of achieving greener electricity supply.

Via Mojo’s GreenPower product Evergreen, businesses can match their usage with a renewable generator
Via Mojo’s GreenPower product Evergreen, businesses can match their usage with a renewable generator

The first is GreenPower, a government-accredited program that lets you support renewable energy generation. An SME signing-up to Mojo’s Evergreen plan buys GreenPower, in which every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity the business uses is matched annually with a kWh of renewable energy, and added to the grid on its behalf, in an independently audited program. “Businesses can be confident that their electricity usage is matched with legitimate Australian renewable energy, helping to reduce not only their own carbon footprint but the whole country‘s greenhouse gas emissions,” says Murphy.

Brisbane Sustainability Agency (a subsidiary of Brisbane City Council) has partnered with Mojo to provide a GreenPower offer to SMEs in its council area. Brisbane City Council has a target of becoming the “one of the greenest cities in the world” by 2030, in preparation for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games; as part of this aim, this year the agency will launch a platform to help SMEs reduce their costs of energy, water and waste. This will include a special GreenPower offer, in conjunction with Mojo, available only to Brisbane SMEs.

“Brisbane Sustainability Agency has had a proud history of partnering with industry leaders to advance sustainability outcomes for the city, and has partnered with Mojo Power to provide a GreenPower offer to our customers, in particular small and medium-sized businesses, to support them in reducing their carbon footprint,” says Tracy Melenewycz, chief executive officer of Brisbane Sustainability Agency.

Mojo has entered into an arrangement to source power from the 9.47 MW Suntech solar farm, in Robinvale, Victoria
Mojo has entered into an arrangement to source power from the 9.47 MW Suntech solar farm, in Robinvale, Victoria

The Mojo group has been engaged in the negotiation of several renewable energy power purchase agreements (PPAs) with solar farm developers across Australia. PPAs are agreements under which Mojo buys electricity and environmental certificates directly from renewable generators –such as solar farms. When we make purchases via PPAs they are directly supporting the development and production of this renewable energy.

It happens this way because the electricity system at the moment is not capable of separating the renewable energy from the fossil fuel energy and delivering it to the customers that want it; but customers’ electricity requirements can underwrite the provision of the equivalent amount of new renewable energy to the grid.

“Our SME customers can commit to purchases that then drive or facilitate the building of renewable capacity,” says Murphy. “In many cases, those commitments effectively fund the development of that power. You could argue that that’s the facilitation task the government should have undertaken, but regardless, our SME customers can know that they’re doing that.”

Blockchain technology will be employed to record energy sources ‘down to the electron’
Blockchain technology will be employed to record energy sources ‘down to the electron’

Mojo has taken the concept further with its Mojo Marketplace, launched last year, in an innovative solution for businesses to link their electricity usage with locally-sourced renewable energy at competitive prices.

In a first for the Australian industry, Mojo Marketplace “tokenises” specific renewable energy generation using blockchain, enabling a company’s energy consumption to be linked to the renewable generation projects of its choice. “We can prove how much renewable energy each project sends to the grid and match this to each customer’s energy usage,” says Murphy.

‘through the Mojo Marketplace, we can link a customer’s energy consumption to the renewable generation projects of its choice’

The electricity generated is tokenised “down to the level of the electron,” and Mojo can only sell that electron once. “We register each electron and lock it away against the customer. It’s a distributed register system, and every SME customer of Mojo Marketplace is using an auditable blockchain trail,” says Murphy. “Customer‘s consumption is matched with renewable energy, that is easily traceable and auditable, from the generator of their choice.”

“Even with LGCs, and offsets through a retail energy plan, the customer should fully understand that the energy being delivered to them at any particular time may very well be coming, if you could trace them, from coal or gas or hydro or wind or solar – it‘s all mixed up in the available pool,” he says. “But through the Mojo Marketplace, we can link a customer’s energy consumption to the renewable generation projects of its choice.”

At the end of the day, most small businesses want to demonstrate that they are contributing to the generation of renewable energy. “This gives them a way of demonstrating, numerically and auditably, that they are walking the talk,” Murphy says.