Industry Briefing for the Advancing Clean Energy Schools Market Sounding

Queensland state schools are among the State Government’s largest energy consumers, spending around $57 million dollars each year. The Queensland Department of Education and Training is leading a market sounding process in partnership with the Department of Energy and Water Supply and Queensland Treasury, seeking innovative ideas from the energy industry to reduce these energy costs in State Schools across Queensland using a range of technologies and approaches including solar energy, demand management, energy efficiency measures and tools for behavioural change. Our schools are already doing their part with almost every Queensland state school offsetting energy costs with solar photovoltaic systems. Since these systems were installed though, the technology costs for solar power have reduced significantly and so the potential to increase the levels of solar energy generated by schools is one of the things we want to investigate. The reality is energy technologies have developed significantly in recent years and we know there is more that can be done to embrace a clean energy future for Queensland schools.

Through the Advancing Clean Energy Schools program we will consult with the energy sector about how we can best use new and emerging technologies to deliver better and more efficient energy management in state schools. The program has the potential to save schools millions of dollars in energy cost and significantly reduce greenhouse emissions. This market sounding is a great example of the State Government working with the private sector to drive more investment and innovation in clean energy technology. This initiative has the potential to support the uptake of renewable energy and deliver real cost reductions for state schools and generate jobs if the project stacks up and can be implemented. The Government has received numerous approaches from the private sector to install solar panels on our schools and put energy efficient solutions in place to manage demand for power. This market sounding is the next step in bringing some of these ideas to fruition.

We know an investment in clean energy is an investment for future generations and that is why the State Government is looking to engage with the private sector to deliver projects like this. With rapid and exciting developments in the way energy is produced, used and stored, it is time to consult with industry on how Queensland state schools can utilise new and emerging technologies to enhance the way energy generation and consumption is managed in our state schools. The market sounding seeks industry advice on funding options, suitable technology and behavioral change solutions, procurement approaches and delivery models, with the outcomes of the process informing potential future investments in school energy management measures. This initial step will help us to determine preferred program elements, and the results of the market sounding will provide insights into possible procurement approaches, start dates for installations and timeframes for delivery across the State. A decision regarding the final nature and scope of any potential procurement program will be made in late 2017.

The Advancing Clean Energy Schools program will help support the Government’s renewable energy priorities and help reach its goal of one million rooftops or 3000 megawatts of solar in Queensland by 2020. All registered participants are encouraged to contribute their ideas to the project by providing a written response to the questions we have included with the project documentation. It is important to say that this is not a tender process. The project team is seeking to understand the broader market perspectives and potential of this project and how we might structure any future commercial arrangements in a manner that generates the greatest likelihood of delivering the outcomes we are looking for. Any submissions will be treated confidentially but components of the submissions may be used to build a subsequent tender process that anyone will be able to participate in.

We would also like to have some face-to-face meetings with a cross-section of participants who are representative of the broader market. The intent of these meetings is to engage in detailed conversations with organisations that can deliver some or all of the project outcomes across the entire portfolio. The conversations are really intended to focus on: the opportunities and challenges presented by the school portfolio relevant delivery models that deliver the outcomes and manage risks and key aspects of a subsequent procurement process that affect the market. Those organisations who are interested in participating in the market sounding should obtain further information by registering their interest and downloading the market sounding briefing documentation from the QTenders website. The documentation provides more detailed information on the project objectives and scope and the outcomes being sought.

The project team encourages entities to consider forming consortia to provide information on the provision of holistic solutions to this market sounding. Responses should be submitted by the submission close date. For further information please contact the Principal Facilities Services Officer, Department of Education and Training by email Spoken by Elise Greg for the Queensland Government, Brisbane..