Powering up a big step towards lower-carbon power Today, two major players in Australia’s corporate landscape switched on a brand new system to generate lower-emissions electricity at Coca-Cola Place in North Sydney and share its benefits with Deutsche Bank Place across the harbour.
In a first for Australia, the NSW Minister for Resources and Energy, Hon Chris Hartcher, MP, officially launched the trigeneration precinct for these two commercial buildings.
Investa Property Group (“Investa”) and Origin have set a precedent for smarter energy management in our cities with a compelling, alternate energy solution that helps lower emissions and network demand, while increasing energy efficiency and power security.
Coca Cola Place and Deutsche Bank Place are significantly shrinking their carbon footprints, saving around 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year between the two buildings.
Origin Executive General Manager, Energy Markets, Frank Calabria said, “Working in partnership with our customers, by deploying smart technology and highly-efficient systems, we can unlock the promise of trigeneration systems in a manner that can cut carbon pollution at the same time as delivering economic benefits. This solution with Investa is a great example of how we are paving the way for more intelligent energy systems of the future.”
This trigeneration solution uses natural gas to produce electricity on-site, as well as heating and cooling for the building. As the waste heat is captured to provide heating and cooling, trigeneration provides up to 80 per cent efficiency, a significant increase on conventional coal-fired power stations which convert only 30-40 per cent of their fuel energy into electricity. 
This energy milestone overcomes challenges that have been limiting the use of trigeneration technology at large commercial sites in the past.
Chairman and CEO of Investa, Scott MacDonald commented: “As an owner and manager of more than 60 commercial office buildings we aim for maximum efficiency - that means keeping energy bills low, while providing premium services to tenants.”
“With this initiative we are leasing space to an operator which can generate power, as well as manage the balance of demand and supply.”
Two Energy Service Agreements (ESA) allow Investa to purchase electricity, hot water and chilled water from Origin’s distributed generation company, Cogent, as well as top-up, peak and off-peak electricity for both sites.
"This is Australia’s first open commercial tri-generation precinct, delivering a more efficient way to generate power, heat and cooling at the source,” said Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP.
“It is the first step to building a trigeneration energy network for the city centre that will reduce carbon pollution and increase efficiency, for city businesses,” said the Lord Mayor.
With Origin’s cogentpower, a ‘virtual private energy network’ is overlaid with the Ausgrid network to balance energy demand between the two buildings. This solution will enable the trigeneration plant at Coca Cola Place to operate at maximum efficiency all year round, while taking advantage of Sydney’s mild climate.
It is the first step towards creating precinct-based trigeneration systems for buildings within the same distribution network as surplus, lower-carbon electricity can be exported to the electricity grid. As this electricity is generated in North Sydney’s CBD and shared into the grid locally, energy is not lost via the high-voltage transmission network.
It is estimated that 12 separate entities control around 60 per cent of office accommodation in the City of Sydney, so the uptake of commercially-viable green technologies can make a real impact on emissions for this sector.
“Responsible building operators strive to use as little energy as possible,” said Craig Roussac, General Manager of Sustainability, Safety and Environment at Investa.
“This agreement proves we can have our cake and eat it too. We can power a super-efficient building with lower emissions electricity, while at the same time heating and cooling it with the waste heat that would normally go up a coal-fired power station’s smoke stack. In addition, further benefits flow from the ability to export excess electricity to the grid,” Mr Roussac said.
“This partnership tackles the supply of energy, opening the door for precinct-based trigeneration systems that will underpin more efficient buildings and more reliable infrastructure.” Mr Roussac said.
Commenting on the initiative Genia McCaffery, Mayor of North Sydney Council said: “Coca Cola Place has a set a benchmark for sustainability and design in the North Sydney CBD. With this trigeneration project, Investa and Origin have raised the bar once again, showing commercial property owners across Australia just what is possible in generating and using energy efficiently.”
, see Table 1, Electricity Generation Efficiencies for Coal Power Stations and Cogeneration.