Renewable Electricity: Mawsons make the switch

By on October 8, 2020

Founding CMPA members; E. B. Mawson & Sons Pty Ltd have switched 100 percent of their mains electricity supply over to renewables. Mawsons have made the switch to a combination of solar, wind and hydro power as part of their broader sustainability strategy. The strategy is designed to significantly reduce the environmental impact of the 50 plus sites Mawsons currently operate across Regional Victoria and Southern NSW.

Mawsons’ Managing Director, John Mawson, said that he is very proud that his company was the first Australian concrete and quarry business to make the switch to 100 percent renewable electricity from the grid. “We believe that this is the right thing for us to do and that now is the right time to do it
Mr. Mawson said. “Anything that helps to reduce global warming and lower the chances of drought and bushfires in the future is well worthwhile. We also believe in helping local industries to grow and the renewable power sector is a major investor and employer in Regional Australia.”

Since September 1st Mawsons have been buying their mains supply electricity through Engie, a European Company that generates and sells electricity all around the world. The Australian division of Engie owns several of the largest renewable energy facilities in the country and also sources power from other wind, solar and hydroelectric generators.

Site Photo: Pyramid Hill Quarry Manager, Alan Walsh left and Weighbridge Clerk, Linda McGillivray at the quarry gate.

Specialist energy purchasing consultants, 1 Circle, negotiated a flexible, long term network supply agreement for Mawsons. When asked about power prices Mr. Mawson added, “While renewable power is a little more expensive now, we expect that its costs will continue to come down. We also have a program installing solar collector panels across many of our sites.”

Mawsons expect that these collectors will generate additional sustainable power to be fed back into the grid and allow the company to lower costs. It is anticipated that some Mawsons’ product prices will actually come down as a result.

Long-time Mawsons’ concrete customer, Dale Baldi from Statewide Panels in Shepparton, says that he is delighted with Mawsons’ initiative on renewable electricity and believes that it will actually help his business win more work while benefitting the environment and creating local jobs. Dale said, “It’s a great thing Mawsons are doing!”

All of the mains electricity supplied to Mawsons-owned sites will be offset by an equivalent amount of electricity sourced from renewable generators. This includes the electricity used at Mawsons’ concrete batch plants, hard rock quarries, gravel and sand pits, workshops, laboratories and administration offices in Victoria and New South Wales Sites where mains electricity is not available and those where Mawsons’ operate on land owned by others e.g. tolling sites, mines and remote mobile operations, will continue to be powered by diesel or the general grid while better alternatives are being sourced.

Switching to renewable electricity is part of Mawsons’ overall Social Responsibility and Sustainability Policy. By making this switch Mawsons’ on-going environmental impact will be dramatically reduced. Based on Mawsons’ 2019 electricity usage, the switch means approximately 5,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions will be saved every year.

In order to achieve this sustainable outcome Mawsons appointed a specialist energy management firm, 1 Circle, who negotiated Power Purchase Agreements on Mawsons’ behalf with electricity retailers, Simply Energy and ERM. The retailers then contract to purchase an amount of electricity equivalent to Mawsons’ annual mains usage from various Energy Generators, including Engie.

To verify that Mawsons’ are receiving 100% Renewable Electricity the Energy Generators provide Federal Government Certification for each megawatt hour of renewable electricity that Mawsons use. These certificates are known as Large Scale Generation Certificates and are traded by the retailers in the broader Electricity Certificates’ market to make sure that each unit of electricity consumed by Mawsons is matched by the same amount of renewable generation. On days when there is insufficient wind at one wind farm or not enough direct sunshine at another solar generator Mawsons can continue their operations as normal and still use renewable electricity as the connection to the national electricity grid provides continuous supply.

The market for buying and selling mains power across Australia is complex and closely regulated. It is managed by Government Authorities to provide a reliable and consistent supply of affordable electricity from all sources including hydro, wind, solar, gas and coal, regardless of generator ownership. By using tradable Large Scale Generation Certificates as described here Mawsons are reducing CO2 emissions significantly. Mawsons’ switch is also encouraging further investment in renewable power while still ensuring that their operations continue to meet the community’s demands for affordable construction materials.

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