We’ve made a long-term commitment to helping South Australia transition to a net-zero carbon future. Earlier this year, you might’ve seen that we announced our partnership with the City of Adelaide and the news that we would be developing two new solar farms – Coonalpyn and Streaky Bay.
The Flow Power team is also growing, we have an office in Adelaide and now, we’re welcoming the newest addition to our SA team, Stephen Cook.
A familiar face, Stephen joins Flow Power from Pernod Ricard Winemakers, where he was most recently the Sustainable Development Manager.
An oenology graduate from the University of Adelaide, Stephen has spent more than 20 years in the wine industry. Currently, Stephen resides in the epicentre of Australian shiraz, the Barossa Valley.
We sat down with Stephen to talk about his passion for renewables, what actions he believes winemakers and agricultural customers can take and his new role at Flow Power.
Why did you want to join Flow Power?
I first started dealing with Flow Power when I was at Pernod Ricard Winemakers, where I was looking at ways to lower our carbon footprint by increasing our use of renewables.
Over the next few years, we were able to transition the business to 100% renewable electricity, while delivering significant financial savings.
I’ve always been impressed by the underlying philosophy of Flow Power, which is to speed the transition to renewable energy by offering solutions to businesses that allow them to meet their sustainability ambitions and at the same time, deliver significant cost savings. When the opportunity arose to join the company I didn’t hesitate.
Tell us why you’re interested in renewable energy?
I think we are all acutely aware of the way our environment is changing and the responsibility we have to take action for future generations.
Internationally, energy markets are transitioning to renewables and Australia is following suit.
Renewable energy gives companies a very tangible way of decarbonising their businesses and also reducing the cost of their operations – it’s a win-win situation.
Do you have any energy tips for other winemakers?
The wine industry by nature is very conscious of the environment and many winemakers have installed solar panels in recent years. However, the market presents much broader opportunities such as the low midday cost of electricity due to rooftop solar.
Traditional fixed-rate retail contracts can’t take advantage of this intraday pricing and wineries should be looking to gain some exposure to the wholesale energy market.
While there may initially be some resistance, experience has shown wineries do have the ability to change how and when they use energy.
What are some energy opportunities that winemakers might not be aware of?
For many years wineries have looked to reduce the amount of electricity they consume but have come up against the law of diminishing returns. An alternative option is to change the time of use to take advantage of low price renewables.
Wineries also have the advantage of large thermal inertia in their stored wines and barrel halls, and can utilise this.
Advancements in technology, which often goes hand-in-hand with a reduction in costs, increasingly mean these adjustments can be automated.
What do you hope to achieve in this new role?
Flow Power has a critically important function to accelerate the transition to a net-zero carbon future by giving security to investors in the form of renewable off-take agreements and solutions that help businesses adapt to the new market.
I hope to be able to help businesses see and take advantage of the opportunities the new market presents both financially and environmentally.