Energy in Education
welcome everybody to energy and education.
My name is Vincent Kelly.
I begin today by acknowledging the jugar and to rural people, traditional custodians of the land on which we gather here today and pay my respects to their elders past and present.
I extend that respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples State a little bit about us.
Um, thanks again for joining us today.
My name is Vincent Kelly.
I'm from energy Action.
A little bit about us where a company that has been around about 2021 years.
Our aim is to take all the heat or the stress.
Uh, all the risk out of purchasing energy.
Uh, we make energy easier, cleaner and cheaper.
Um, and we do that by reducing the energy spanned of Australian organisations and our stated ambition is to help organisations zero uh, we just don't talk about it.
We actually do it.
We are an accredited net zero business.
Um, along the way of those last 20 ideas, we've grown our business that we help, uh, round about 8.
My clients, um, with over 20,000 sites supported all over Australia and those sites extend from SME all the way up to large clients.
Um, some key points today we'll be talking about net zero pathways.
Um, we're talking about Is solar right for your business that will be taken up by Anastas E Couturiers.
He'll be from smart, smart energy, solar energy procurement.
You'll be listening to, uh, tell us how we can procure energy smarter and more sustainable fashion.
Uh, we'll also be hearing from Katie Nicklin from Echo Educate.
We'll be giving firsthand experiences and about how students can get involved in schools, can get involved in a sustainable drive a little bit about us.
My name is Vincent Kelly on the energy Solutions manager here at Energy Action.
Rachel Kent, business development manager at Energy Action.
Katie Nicholl heads up the team at Echo Educate and, uh, is the head of marketing at Smart.
Um, without further ado, I'll pass you over now to Katie Nixon from Echo.
Thank you so much for having me on this webinar.
It's a pleasure to be here.
And yeah, it's a pleasure for eco educate to partner with energy action.
It's essential for us to be able to connect our clients with energy solutions like they offer, So I'm going to speak a little bit about who we are.
We are an environmental consultancy and education provider, and we work really closely with schools, businesses and even councils as well to provide quality consultancy, um, and tailored long term solution to sustainability.
So I thought, because what gathers us here today is the topic of education.
Um, and it also happens to be in our name.
It's worthwhile spending a couple of minutes on why education is a focus and why educate at all.
Um so there's a few reasons to flag here, so climate change education in itself is a powerful climate mitigation strategy, so we don't often think of it as such.
But there's studies that have been done, and the graph to the right there shows you just how impactful that can really be.
This is from a study done in a university setting, so tertiary education, where they looked at the potential of climate change, education to impact the individuals climate sorry emissions throughout their life.
And if we were to assess that, as we do with other mitigation strategies, where would it fall? And their studies brought us to conclude that climate change education can be just as impactful or just shy of afforestation as one of those techniques.
So it's hard to quantify, but it is worthwhile just knowing how powerful education is in solving this problem.
And it's very much at the preliminary stage of creating impact.
So starting it at a young age is so powerful.
Um, that's so worthwhile noting, and we also know that that's just that's just the one individual.
But the nature of education is to really create a larger catalyst effect.
So one individual educates one more, and we have what's called the ripple effect of of change throughout a community.
So the other thing that brings education to the forefront for eco educate is that we grew out of a strong education industry, um, and this sector.
So we have a really strong connection to it and also understand it as a pretty powerful source of positive change and also a powerful contributor.
So the sector itself makes up about it's the fifth largest emitter in the Australian industries as far as energy is concerned, so that just gives you an idea of the scale of our education industries in Australia and both their impact as a contributor and a part of the solution.
So it's amazing together today and discuss it a little bit more.
So where were operating as a company is certainly looking at how we can create more long term solutions for our both our Corporates and our schools.
So all of our clients, we recommend a blended approach of both top down initiatives and bottom up initiatives.
So we really want to look at, um, structural changes.
Changes to accompany those can be environmental management plans, reconciliation, action plans, carbon foot printing, net zero planning and then also more student facing in the school space initiatives like workshops, presentations, educational courses, curriculum alignment all these sorts of things that we can we can really bring to the student population in education industries.
And certainly, as I said, it's the blended approach of both of those that really sees long term success.
So this is a graphic here, um, that I showed to our our clients, who often haven't seen what can be possible and what the future looks like.
A head, um, for their education institution, whether that be primary, secondary or tertiary.
Um, and what we've done is is basically gather this into five steps and and walking our clients through what this looks like again.
It's not always linear, and this is a highly tailored approach that we like to give to clients.
So a lot of this can be subject to change.
And we also want to lead with the clients first priority, whatever that might be.
But let's take this as an example and start with building a strong foundation.
We've put Step One as establishing an environmental management plan, and I've put school there.
But again, I want to speak to the tertiary as well.
Um, similarly, a reconciliation action plan.
So both of these documents, the core purpose is to really align the organisation, the institution, their values, belief, mission, all of those things, with with an action plan for how they are implementing it in their campus, which is pretty exciting.
Uh, it covers all sorts of different things.
That might be a principal statement.
That might be the alignment to the sustainable development goals, integration to curriculum, all of the different initiatives that are currently in place in that institution as well.
And then to add more quantitative data to the next step, we look at a carbon footprint, so taking a full inventory of emissions associated with that institution that might cover across and certainly will cover across scopes 12 and three with the vision to possibly take this to net zero in the future.
But often we were approaching institutions who are doing this for the first time.
So setting that up as a baseline as well Step three We really look at a strategy for the way ahead.
So we've got quantitative data and we've got qualitative data for the institution.
And now we look at really aligning.
Different interventions was what we call them to meet the goals of that institution.
So it might be and in fact often is a blend of the three environmental outcomes that might be reducing emissions, economic outcomes, reducing spend procurement, spend and bills and educational outcomes.
So, looking at increasing the climate, literacy and sustainable practise that is in place in that organisation in that institution.
So this is such a key part, particularly for the webinar today, because we can't deliver all of these interventions alone.
And in fact, industry partnership is so essential for us to be able to create a holistic approach here.
So some of these eco educate proudly delivers, like our professional development, our curriculum alignment.
We do waste audits, eco programmes, indigenous experiences and other interventions.
We really need to be able to connect our clients to people who provide in that area.
So that is energy action in looking at energy contracts that meet the needs of the client and certainly smart commercial solar to also be able to provide technology in the way of solar and other interventions to So that's really looking at a very holistic approach.
And certainly it sounds like a lot.
But just to note that this is a commitment we make over over a period of years, it's all about progress, not perfection, so starting somewhere.
But this is where it can take you to.
So the fourth step might be achieving that zero when we've already got a carbon inventory of the institution, and we've also got some interventions in place to reduce emissions.
Then whatever is left remaining, we purchase offsets for that client and look to achieve a net zero date for them now to look at pie in the sky and where this can possibly go.
The Australian government has a climate active, carbon neutral certification and that's a voluntary acknowledgment of your institutions commitment to addressing climate change and being a leader in this area.
So it's not.
It's not always a straight away thing.
It's definitely something to work towards.
And proudly Australia has one of the more rigorous certifications internationally.
So it's amazing to see where we can take this to be a leader in the industry and the leader in best practise for sustainability.
Um, if we if we want to get there and if we put it as a priority.
So by that point we've looked at a net zero date we've built in indigenous links, we have alignment to the SDG s curriculum alignment as well, and we can also achieve carbon neutrality through the certification to.
So that's a lot and it's big picture and it's if everything worked perfectly.
But it's really important to be able to provide these steps to our clients to help them understand what the future can look like again.
It is so tailored and That's part of what we want to put in front of our clients his ability to put position this in relation to their unique goals and their values.
But it's a graphic that often, uh, what nobody's seen before, so it's exciting to showcase.
Um, all right, well, one of our case studies, so it's worthwhile just seeing how this has come into action.
One of our amazing schools is Brisbane Girls Grammar School, and Rachel Fraser, who is the CFO, has has put together some words.
She's also stressed here in her testimonial that a research and evidence based approaches so imperative for the school and so is a clear for a clear framework and a clear pathway forward.
She also really stressed, and this is such a common hiccup for schools or even a hurdle, if you will, that it's so important that those initiatives that they do put in place are embedded into the daily life of the school rather than just being a fad or a flash in the pan.
So easy for that to happen in organisations is for it to be forgotten, and we have to ensure that that has a long term lifetime in anything we implement.
This is the last paragraph.
I'll read it because it's beautiful.
But she says the greatest challenge has been the myriad of very exciting ideas and the ad hoc initiatives that are already in place.
Aligning these into a clear roadmap and framework without killing enthusiasm.
I wonder how many people on the call might connect with that sentence.
It's well written, and I think it speaks to a common commonality in the industry, she says.
Understanding the language of carbon footprint from printing and how it's calculated is all new, and we're learning as we progress echo educators working with the school to assist all of these areas and further supporting the schools establishment of a baseline.
Their roadmap has been invaluable.
This has been a fantastic school and in every every part of the process, I've worked with Rachel Fraser and also her entire staff of Sustainability Committee and also her student body to educate not only in implementing these interventions, but also in why we do it in what is best practise in the industry and how we can keep perfecting it and improving it as we progress.
So I'd really encourage anyone on the call.
Who would like to better understand why we do these things where we're heading with it all to reach out and get in touch because it's worthwhile starting the conversation? Absolutely.
And yeah, I'd love to chat to you further, but I'll pass back to the, um okay.
To a question from a listener, if you don't mind.
Um, you mentioned that education is the fifth highest producing industry in Australia.
Do you know if that also includes tertiary education? I don't Sorry.
I'm referencing a sentence that actually said it was schools.
So that leads me to believe it was secondary and primary, but it's worth following up.
I wish I knew I'd have to go back and read the rest of the report.
I also have a question, if you don't mind, Um, what would you say has been your experience on the biggest challenges that schools face trying to implement Net zero.
Good question, Rachel.
Actually, in the testimonial, they're highlights a few of them.
But the nature of our schools is certainly one where they are quite psychical.
So it's often easy for programmes to be forgotten.
The next year or even in two years time.
That's pretty normal to the nature of a school or a tertiary and as well as that.
I think we've had somewhat of a blotchy history of of initiatives and resources available to our education industry that have been coming and going with different political parties in the lead, and that can be a little bit confusing to follow.
So having someone to hold your hand through the process is really valuable, I think, Um, yeah, it's certainly politically influenced.
Um, and as well, I've actually read an interesting article about why we don't see more success in, um, or more progress in, uh, indigenous education.
Uh, in Australia and one of the big hurdles.
There was a lack of confidence from our educators and a lack of education in the pre service space as well.
So there's some really interesting hurdles that come up repeatedly from our clients, all of which, I'd say are surmountable with the right approach.
So I might hand over to start the for smart, smart commercial solar.
If that's you're ready, I mean admiration of your presentation skills.
Very good pace.
I'm going to try and take a leaf out of your book because I tend to rush these things.
Um, but I'll do my best to communicate everything in slow way.
And by all means.
If anyone has any questions or wants to go into some of the points raised in deeper discussion, I'm sure we'll send our contact information at the end of the webinar and just reach out to me personally more than happy to have a chat.
My name is understands ecotourists.
I'm the head of marketing at Smart Commercial Solar, and I've actually been working at smart commercial solar for for six years now.
I've got quite a few experiences with schools personally, and, uh, look, I'll just jump in and give you a little rundown of what we do and take you through some of the outcomes.
So who are we Smart commercial? Solar was founded in 2012, so we're celebrating our 10 10 year birthday this year were independently owned.
One of the few commercial solar companies that are independently owned is something that we're quite proud of.
Um, and at the moment, we've got 1700 instals across every state and territory which includes around 80 schools.
So we've got lots of experience in the education sector from from primary schools to universities.
Two of those schools actually is, um were installed as part of our one son initiative, which is, uh, kind of philanthropic arm of of Smart, championed by human M D.
Uh, he went over to Vanuatu and donated a system and installed it on a couple of schools.
Um, and there's some massive benefit for those communities by installing solar there.
And then this is something that we're committed to expand in 2023.
So something I really wanted to kind of make note of is we truly act as a renewables partner.
We're not a transactional business.
We don't just instal a system and see you later.
We we build relationships with our customers, and I know this is important within the education sector and for schools, and we back up our relationships with long term monitoring and maintenance contracts.
Performance guarantees a lot of our customers a repeat.
Customers you know, we're expanding Their existing solar systems were adding batteries or we're proceeding to do more sites and rolling out solar across multiple schools and sites for them.
So just within the education sector, I wanted to give you a quick snapshot of some of the schools that we've worked with.
Western Sydney University, Obviously quite a reputable university in New South Wales.
That's a that's a pretty big system of 450 kilowatt system there, Um, and also to note one school global have engaged us for a roll out of schools totalling 31 total system size of 838 kilowatts.
So this, this is kind of, um, you know, an indication of what we do.
We we can manage multiple installations at once.
Project Management Strengths Day.
Definitely something that we push forward and large scale, complicated instals that might be multiple roofs, complicated electrical infrastructure on your site, Um, and installing batteries and doing some other cool solutions down the line.
So I wanted to just talk about this particular school, which is a client of mine.
It's a school in Western Sydney, and it's interesting for a few reasons.
So the first one is they had an existing 100 kilowatt system, and they didn't know whether it was working.
Unfortunately, this is something that I hear quite a lot in with schools.
This is definitely not the first time nor the last time I've heard that and in fact, the 100 kilowatt system that was delivered about five years prior to us meeting these these guys, it was non compliant, installed.
The inverters had failed.
There was no monitoring.
The school had no idea whether it was on or off.
And, you know, they were left in the dark.
And that was because the company that installed it just simply do didn't do the right monitoring and maintenance on the system.
We came to site, didn't audit and identified that the system was actually better disposed of and to be replaced.
Now I will.
No, we don't throw anything into landfill.
Every part of that system was recycled.
This is really important key part of our mission.
We have a great recycling partner, and all the rail inverters and solar panels were recycled.
We then did an assessment of their energy consumption and found Actually, they needed a 300 kilowatt system.
So we tripled the system sized.
And also at that time, the school was looking at led lighting.
They had a few other projects on.
I think they were actually building another school, so capital at that time was quite competitive, and solar was just one project in a whole mix of projects that they were assessing.
So in talking to them and I normally deal with the business manager at a school because it ends up being a financial decision, although we'll talk about some of the environmental outcomes as well.
Um, you know, assessing the capital outlay for a 300 kilowatt system versus led lighting and and and the removal and replacement of the system.
Um, it was a It was a large amount.
So we actually spoke to the school about a power purchase agreement, and this enabled them to avoid any upfront capital.
Uh, we removed and recycled the system, installed a 300 kilowatt system and wrapped in an led lighting upgrade, all under a power purchase agreement, which means the school just buys the electricity the system generates.
Now that energy rate, or the P p A rate from the solar system, is 50% cheaper than their retail energy rate.
So great result cash flow positive.
The the upgrades were all wrapped into the p p a.
And for the length of the term, the school doesn't, um they don't incur any operational maintenance costs or baked in the other.
Really cool thing about this system is the monitoring.
And I think this is important for schools.
And, um, you know, I mentioned that this school had no visibility on the system's performance and they weren't actually sure whether it was working.
We we always instal monitoring.
And, um, I think this particular example is interesting because we're able to push data through a TV into classrooms into a foyer.
Um, there's obvious stem applications for for for solar and then the sustainability and environmental part as well.
But I think this is a really cool way of taking a environmental initiative and pushing it into the classroom.
We will gladly work with you and eco educate on lesson plans and integrating the solar into the educational outcomes as well.
Um, so this is something that we've we've worked on with other schools in the past.
Um, you can see, you know, the generation of the system will monitor particular, uh, sustainability or is geometrics.
And, um, this is just a kiosk view, but um teachers will also get a log in so they can get a lot more data out of this as well.
So some schools may have heard of a power purchase agreement before.
I wanted to just quickly outline what it is because it's quickly becoming the most popular procurement method for schools at the moment, especially when there's capital competition.
A power purchase agreement avoids that upfront cost you just by the energy that the solar system generates.
And on average, it's about 50% cheaper than your daytime electricity rate.
The unique thing about our people ah, is that it's a community funded model.
So we work with Clear Sky Solar Investments, which are a non for profit organisation.
They set up these these funds and investors from the community anyone.
Actually, if you're on this webinar and you're interested, look up clear this guy.
Solar investments register and you'll see a project as it comes up.
You're you're eligible to invest in that project, and I think it's a really cool way of getting parents and friends and the community around the school to invest in a sustainability project at the school, Um, delivers.
So here are just a couple examples.
Um, now a p p.
Can scale down and it can scale up.
These are just solar.
However, like I mentioned before, we're able to wrap in batteries led lighting.
If you require a roof upgrade or MSB, upgrade like an electrical upgrade that can also get bundled into the P p A.
And just to quickly go through.
It's a 10 year term.
Your 100 kilowatt energy rate is around 20 cents.
The people rates start out at about nine cents.
So for the first year of operation, this customer was 11,000 cash, $11,000 cash flow positive so and you can see over a 10 year term.
There's considerable energy savings to be made, no operation and maintenance costs, and you don't spend anything up front.
So I think this is a really good model for schools to look at when considering a solar investment.
And just to finalise this presentation, I wanted to allude to what's the next step after solar.
Because many schools actually have a solar system.
I wonder if they know if it's working.
If you don't know if it's working, definitely send us an email and we'll get our service team to do a quick audit of it.
But solar represents a really logical and sensible first step.
You're able to achieve 30% energy reduction.
Some strong co two emission reductions are really good monitoring, and that is critical in the next stage, which is assessing how much more solar you need and what size battery you need.
So we say next, because batteries aren't exactly commercially viable right now, there's still a 10 year plus payback attached.
However, we expect in the next couple of years the price of batteries to come down, or you may be experiencing considerably higher energy rates.
Now, if that's the case, expanding your solar and storage might make sense now.
And on average, we're seeing schools going about 70% off grid so that that's a really great result for your climate.
Active certification and integrating to that third step of the Echo educate sustainability plan by working with energy action where we're able to also build in offsite renewables, and if it's a value and the school has a target of meeting meeting 100% renewables on site, we can do that with the procurement and partnering with energy action.
So hopefully that gives you an understanding what we do and some of the outcomes attached to solar systems.
Like I said, any questions feel free to drop them in the chat, or we can pick it up off line.
And as far as the questions just come through about the current market and how that applies to solar, the solar represents a good investment right now.
I believe you're referring to the increase in prices across the energy market.
I believe that's where the question comes from.
So, uh, look, the long story short is, it accelerates your solar payback quite considerably.
Where we had customers sitting at about a five or a six year payback for a solar system.
It's now 34 years.
Um, so there's Yeah, there's There's definitely a case to be made for.
Solar makes more sense than ever right now.
Am I handing back over to you, Rachel? All right.
Good afternoon, everyone.
You may know me as the person on the end of the phone querying your energy goals and your net zero goals.
Um, helping people and businesses achieve the Net zero targets.
It's something I'm really passionate about, and I'm really excited to be working with both echo educate and smart commercial solar to help businesses achieve those goals.
Um, just a bit of a touch up on what's happening in the market at the moment as it's relevant to everybody.
Um, what we're seeing is that pricing, unfortunately has risen back to June and July levels.
As you can see here, uh, this blue line represents where we're at with the market.
We saw a little bit of a decline over August period, which made everyone a little bit excited.
But we're back up again at high prices, and this is across all states.
As you can see, The reason behind this volatility is, um, that basically, there's a huge demand.
We've got a lack of supply as a result of the war in Ukraine.
Um, we've got some queries around what's happening with the gas supply onshore and offshore.
Um, and retailers are quite hesitant to do anything until there's a bit more of reassurance and to supply in the bridge.
These pricing we're looking at New South Wales is currently sitting at $70 a megawatt or seven cents per kilowatt.
Um, in in this month, Um, whereas last month you know it was a little bit less looking at future years Calendar 24 in Calendar 25 which was represented by the orange and green lines, are, as you can see, we're tracking along pretty much the same last year in terms of pricing through 3 24 25 as 23 pricing increases.
We're actually seeing that 24 25.
Pricing is following.
Based on this recommendations for anyone exposed to cal 23 24 prices is to look at extending contracts out at least 2025 because we envisioned that these pricing levels will be up around the 23 levels come next year.
Unfortunately, how we can help you at energy action with your energy procurement, we have a couple of different options.
A reversal platform is something that is unique to energy action.
It's a live process where we take your site, tend to a panel of up to 12 retailers.
Um, as I said, the the auction is live and participants are given a 10 minute window where they can be their best and lowest.
We generally find that on average, these reversal platform generates a bidding, uh, difference of 20% from the first to the final bid.
So it does create competition.
Uh, and it's also a quick process.
Rather than going individually to retailers and taking the time to do that.
We have 10 minutes where everybody gives all of their pricing.
At the same time, we also can do a request for proposal.
Um, doesn't matter how detailed your energy portfolio portfolio is.
We can recommend the best time to buy and turn it into a clear buying proposition for you and the same thing.
We then take that tender request out to up to a panel of 15 retailers who then submit their tenders.
Um, and this obviously encourages again a highly competitive environment.
Index buying is a is a new product that's come out onto the market, which is for anyone that uses consumers over 500 meg megawatt hours.
Um, basically, it plays along the spot market, giving you an agreed margin, so if the market is high, you'll be paying higher prices.
But if the market is what you're paying low prices and you can fix that in for a contract period subject to the market movement if the market hits favourable conditions and you can opt out of the index buying prospect and lock in contracts at that lower rate, so it helps with, you know, with businesses that are using a great amount of energy and have that flexibility.
Our green options is similar to fossil based contracts.
It's about five years, and it's helping you achieve those net zero goals.
You have the opportunity as well of perhaps, uh, selecting percentages throughout the contract of your green energy percentage as an example, if you're not budgeting, um, net zero targets until 2025 25% green power next year, 50% the year after, 100% the year after that, depending on your budget.
It's not all retailers actually will offer that, but some do, so it's worth.
While keeping in mind, we can also look at purchasing corporate power purchase agreements where it's a fixed price fixed term with the green power as well.
We also can help your schools and your business managers with energy management reporting for those um, people that have multi site businesses.
This our energy metrics portal is a fantastic offering to help you track all of your bills in the one spot for each site.
It's also an amazing, amazing reporting capabilities in terms of usage spent and carbon carbon emissions, which is going to be pretty crucial coming up and also obviously, for helping people achieve Net zero.
We run field validation services.
Sometimes retailers can get it wrong.
They can overcharged or undercharged.
And we use the, um, interval data that comes through from your retailer to ascertain what the usage should be and whether you've been built accordingly.
And then we follow up with the retailer to ensure that you are then compensated accordingly.
We also run an annual network tariff review and help with budget and forecasting.
Um, the certificate management as well can help you with your goals.
We can help you create purchase and surrender certificates.
Um, this is the purchase of renewable energy certificates, voluntary carbon isation strategies and renewable energy certificates, registry and account management, or, depending on the site, the size of the portfolio as well as the number of sites.
There's many options that we can help you with Does anyone have any questions? I'll just finish up with a case study we did with the University of New South Wales.
We arranged a solar power purchase agreement with the University of New South Wales, which allowed them to secure carbon emission free electricity, obviously at a cost which was economical for them.
They purchased approximately 202,024 1000 megawatts of renewable energy per year for 15 schools, which was sourced from Sunrise, Solar Farm, May and eggs, which was 200 on your screen.
Here you'll see QR code.
If anybody would like to scan that, entering your details, someone energy action will be in touch to have a chat about your energy and net zero goals.
And now it's back to me.
Uh, any more questions is from the, uh, from the audience.
Do we have any more questions coming through? There's one for Star Z, the popular guy today.
See, uh, is there a Is it a good time during the summer holidays? Is that Is that the best time to instal panels on the, uh at a school? Given the fact that it's a it's a long holiday.
Look, we always will work with the school on the most appropriate time to instal That happens to be during school holidays.
Um, I would note that through through the summer break, you've got a Christmas break and early January where minimal construction happens.
But we will do our best to make sure there's no disruption to the school and, uh, and schedule the instal through a holiday period.
Well, that about wraps us up, I think.
It's been a It's been a challenge.
Technical proportions today.
Um, thank you for your attendance.
Hopefully, um, everyone's gotten something valuable out of the out of the chat today.
Thank you so much, Anastasia.
For your import into you, Katie Nicholl in.
Um, it was wonderful.
Uh, if there are any questions any you'd like to know, please feel free to contact us.
Um, the were contacted all through the through the webinar detailed contact page.
And we'd be happy to take your calls into your your questions on that note.
And individual fund.