Macquarie University has signed a seven-year contract with Snowy Hydro-owned Red Energy to switch to a 100% renewable electricity source for its North Ryde campus. The move will see the university’s total greenhouse gas emissions cut by 92%, with the campus’ electricity being sourced from Snowy Hydro from July 1. Under the contract, Macquarie will purchase about 54,422MWh of clean energy a year, saving the equivalent of 8,500 households’ worth of emissions each year.

The renewable electricity agreement is the latest in Macquarie’s long-standing commitment to embedding sustainability across campus.

The largest project in the institution’s Ccampus Development Plan, the Central Courtyard precinct, will target a 5 star green star rating under the Green Building Council of Australia’s sustainability rating system, and has been funded by a $250 million sustainability bond.

Initiatives to reduce waste have resulted in less than 5% of the total waste generated on campus going to landfill, as well as the use of recycled and sustainable materials in building works and the revitalisation of existing buildings to improve energy efficiency.

“Macquarie University is committed to reducing our environmental footprint and demonstrating leadership and innovation in sustainability within our vibrant, parkland campus,” said Vice-Chancellor Professor S Bruce Dowton.

“With this new agreement with Red Energy we are proud to have far surpassed our aim of reducing emissions by 40% by 2030. It will also create new collaboration opportunities in sustainable energy research.

“This is alongside our commitment to sustainable building design, energy efficiency, waste reduction, water conservation and biodiversity management. We take our responsibility seriously to be a more sustainable university in all we do.”

Snowy Hydro managing director Paul Broad said on-demand hydro from the Snowy Scheme will underpin contracted wind and solar generation, enabling Red Energy to supply Macquarie with reliable renewable energy. 

“We’re also very pleased to announce a collaboration with the university which will allow students to work with our trading team on some research and energy forecasting projects, giving the students exposure to some of the most experienced energy experts in the industry,” Broad said.