Norton Rose Fulbright has advised the City of Sydney on all stages of its long-term renewable energy procurement process. The $60 million renewable power purchase agreement (PPA) with energy business Flow Power is the largest standalone renewable energy transaction entered into by any Australian council to date.

This deal is a key part of the City of Sydney's commitment to addressing climate change, as the retail solution provided by Flow Power will enable the City to meet its goal of 100 per cent renewable energy procurement from 1 July 2020. The City of Sydney has been certified carbon neutral since 2011, declared a climate emergency in June this year and is a member of the C40 Large Cities Climate Leadership Group.

This deal will also provide the City of Sydney with a long term price hedge against the ongoing volatility in the NSW electricity market and marks a key step in the evolution of the renewable PPA market in Australia. The innovative retail product provided by Flow Power is a 'sleeved' PPA, which means that Flow Power acts as an intermediary between the City of Sydney, as a customer, and the wind and solar generators which provide the renewable generation for the City.

The retail solution offered by Flow Power will be backed by renewable generation from the following renewable energy generators in NSW:

  • Sapphire Wind Farm, near Glen Innes in northern NSW;
  • Bomen Solar Farm, near Wagga Wagga in the south-west of NSW; and
  • a not-for-profit community-owned solar scheme near Nowra on the south-east NSW coast.

The procurement of energy from a community-owned renewable generator was at the core of the City of Sydney's procurement strategy in order to ensure that economic benefits from this significant agreement flow directly to the local community, including those suffering from severe drought.

The Norton Rose Fulbright Sydney-based team was led by energy partner and head of power, Kelly Davies, and supported by regulatory partner Claire Forster, associate Laura Waterford and graduate Isabella Martinez-Sistac.

Kelly Davies commented:

"Large customers in the Australian electricity market continue to drive change in the clean energy retail offering. It has been a pleasure to support the City of Sydney on this landmark deal that not only enables the City to advance its sustainable decarbonised future but also supports local communities and local jobs. It has also been a pleasure to work with my colleagues who are leaders in this space, especially Laura Waterford who played an instrumental role in the transaction from day one to execution."

Norton Rose Fulbright has extensive global renewable energy and project finance practices and has advised clients on corporate PPA deals across Australia and around the world. The renewables team is at the forefront of the development of the corporate procurement of renewable energy in Australia and globally, and works with the Renewable Energy Buyers Forum, World Wildlife Fund and World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The firm also advised on all aspects of the development and financing of the Sapphire Wind Farm and Bomen Solar Farm.