NBN Co finally commits to 100% renewable energy

In a move that’s arguably long overdue, NBN Co is going greener — today announcing plans to source 100% renewable energy by the end of 2025.

The broadband network provider has unveiled its Towards-Zero Carbon Ambition, alongside its second-ever Sustainability Report. NBN Co has also announced that it is now a member of RE100, a global initiative of businesses committed to transitioning to renewable energy.

How NBN Co is moving towards zero

NBN Co’s Towards-Zero Carbon Ambition is the company’s latest sustainability effort, and a move towards providing a more energy-efficient network to more than 8.3 million Aussies homes and businesses. With demands on the NBN at an all-time high over the last two years, and the bulk of the network rollout now complete, it’s more important than ever for NBN Co to deliver a reliable service while also taking environmental and social responsibility.

“As we continue to navigate this time of great change and challenge, the critical role of broadband connectivity in supporting the nation’s social and economic needs has never been more evident,” said NBN Co Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Rue.

“We want to create a more sustainable company through our commitment to digital inclusion and capability; empowering individuals, businesses and communities to stimulate economic productivity and growth; operating a trusted secure and reliable network, reducing emissions and addressing climate risks; fostering workplace diversity and inclusion and by being transparent and accountable.”

NBN Co has outlined three first-step initiatives for its sustainability roadmap, committing to the following changes:

  • Reducing annual energy by 25GWh by December 2025
  • Purchasing 100% renewable electricity from December 2025
  • Using electric or hybrid vehicles where available by 2030

While the company has already made moves to reduce its energy consumption (such as installing solar panels and LED lights in facilities, and turning off inactive line cards across its network), today’s announcement marks a public commitment to shift to cleaner sources of power. NBN Co has also entered into an 80GWh per annum renewable power purchasing agreement — which the company says will deliver around 19% of its power demands by the 2023 financial year — and plans to cement other power purchases as it moves to 100% renewables.

In the 2020 financial year, NBN Co also established a program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions ‘by a cumulative total of 91ktCO2-e over a three-year period’, with the aim to achieve a 15% reduction in forecasted emissions in 2023. According to today’s sustainability report, nearly 90% of the program’s initiatives are either completed or near completion, meaning the company is on-track to reduce emissions over the next two years.

NBN Co has also confirmed its membership in RE100, joining 110 other major Australian companies committed to reducing their environmental impact. The announcement sees NBN Co become the first Australian telco, and first government business enterprise, to join the worldwide initiative.

“NBN Co is taking an important step towards the goal of exclusively buying clean, green, renewable energy,” said Jon Dee, Australia Coordinator at RE100.

“But it’s not just the direct impact of NBN Co’s renewable electricity commitment that’s important. It also makes a positive impact on the over 8.3 million homes and businesses that use the NBN network.

“For small businesses, this may be one of their first suppliers to make such a commitment. It sets a positive example that other companies can follow.”

NBN back in the renewables race

The announcement brings some much-needed good green publicity for NBN Co, after the company was ranked in 9th place in Greenpeace Australia’s tech and telco renewables report in June of this year. At that time, NBN Co had not entered into any renewables purchasing deals, despite being Australia’s fourth-largest emitter in the tech and telco sector.

“Big telcos and internet providers use enormous amounts of electricity, and having NBN Co join frontrunners Telstra and TPG Telecom in making the shift to renewables will have a major impact on Australia’s emissions,” said Lindsay Soutar, director of REenergise at Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

“As Greenpeace’s recent report revealed, telcos and internet providers are one of the leading industries in Australia’s energy transition. Now we need Optus, which seems to be perpetually stuck on dial-up, to join the party.”

It’s also great news for Australians looking to feel better about their own choices as a consumer, especially now that a vast majority of homes use the NBN as their primary broadband connection.

“It’s great to see NBN Co investing in renewables and I’m sure consumers will be pleased to know their internet network is set to become more sustainable,” said Canstar Blue’s Energy Editor, Jared Mullane.

“There’s still a long road ahead for renewable energy generation in Australia, but it’s initiatives like these that really drive change.”

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Compare NBN plans

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The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

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The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

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The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

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The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

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