Case study: Energy savings to be found

South Street Energy, specialists in sustainable energy management, says that with rising energy costs, food manufacturers and distributors are finding new ways to save money with their energy systems. renewable energy and increase their yields.

Victoria-based Lago Smallgoods and Sealane Food Group have joined South Street Energy’s innovative distributed generation network, an award-winning new way for owners of small-scale renewable energy systems to gain more returns from the domestic market of electricity.

Lago Smallgoods supplies processed meats including ham, bacon, salami, European sausages and pizza toppings to all major independent food retailers in Australia.

Managing Director Rhett Davis says the company is committed to environmental sustainability.

“We aim to have as small a footprint as possible and have done everything we can to increase our efficiency,” David said.

Davis says energy efficiency is important to the operation of their ovens, slicers, refrigerators and freezers. They pay up to $20,000 a month for electricity and expect their gas bill to rise 350% in January.

Installing a 420 kW solar photovoltaic system on their roof cut their electricity bill in half eight years ago when they installed it. The 1120 panels cover the entire roof of their Broadmeadows factory. It generates more than 500MWh and on average Lago avoids rejecting 770kg of Co2 per day into the atmosphere with this system.

But in recent years, Davis says, they haven’t been getting much return from their solar power.

“We were supposed to get between $80 and $200/month for any solar-generated electricity we supplied to the grid. South Street Energy came and installed a smart meter and quadrupled the income we could get to $900 or more per month.”

South Street Energy Managing Director Marco Bogaers says South Street Energy has found a way for owners of small-scale renewable energy systems to participate in the electricity market and realize the true value of electricity renewable that they contribute.

“When companies like Lago Smallgoods join our distributed generation network, we install a meter so that we can accurately measure the amount of electricity generated. Then we sell the renewable electricity they produce into the retail or wholesale market, whichever offers the best return, and take a share of the increased value we create,” Bogaers said.

Another company that will benefit is Sealane Food Group, a family-owned company that distributes wholesale and retail food and beverage products and operates from a purpose-built facility in Heidelberg, Victoria.

Co-owner Jamie Li says: “We are constantly thinking about how we can reduce our impact on the environment and coming up with innovative ways to improve sustainable food packaging, on-site material recycling reducing the waste in landfill, down to reducing our carbon footprint with the way we use energy.

Sealane MD Shun King Li, with Peilin Li and Jamie Li. Image: South Street Energy

“We are very proud to have our own 300kW rooftop solar generation system, and we have considered the design and construction of our facility to support the physical expansion of renewable energy infrastructure in the beyond 2030, such as on-site battery storage capacity, water retention, efficient building design principles to combat sun exposure, and room for expansion of solar panels if needed.

“Working with South Street Energy has provided support that we don’t get elsewhere to get more return on our solar power system,” Li said.

In the first 9 months of this year, the Sealane solar system generated 256 MWh. South Street Energy sold 35% of Sealane’s renewable electricity to the wholesale electricity market for $18,400 and their electricity bills were reduced by $12,000. South Street Energy increased the value of Sealane’s renewable electricity from $19,200 to $30,400, or 7.5 cents to 11.9 cents per kWh.

“Achieving this significant return allows us to offset high energy costs in the current economic environment and potentially reinvest in our internal sustainability program for future renewable energy projects that we are currently exploring with industry partners and experts. industry,” Li said.

Professor Bruce Mountain, director of the Victoria Energy Policy Centre, described South Street Energy’s distributed generation network as innovative and said South Street Energy had applied its detailed knowledge of metering and settlement to deliver a “very smart” product. “.

“This is likely to significantly improve the attractiveness of distributed renewable generation, particularly for facilities with large export volumes to the grid who would otherwise receive little or no price for their exports. to the network.

“Being part of our distributed power generation network has helped our customers overcome the recent negative impacts of high electricity prices, and this fits directly into the Australian Government’s Powering Australia plan to bring the share of renewables in the national electricity market to 82% by 2030,” Mountain said.

“It benefits everyone. It helps individual system owners by providing a new form of supplemental revenue, it helps the community by providing additional financial incentives for the adoption of renewables, and it helps the National Electricity Market (NEM) by providing a mechanism demonstrable participation by small-scale renewable generators,” Bogaers said.

South Street Energy has been recognized at the 2022 National and Victorian iAwards, in the Sustainability and Environmental Solution of the Year category, for its pioneering distributed generation network, which enables owners of small-scale solar, wind and biogas generation systems to sell renewable electricity to the wholesale electricity market.