The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) has turned green, becoming the first major stadium in Australia to run on 100% renewable power, thanks to leading energy retailer EnergyAustralia.

From lighting up the iconic light towers to heating the pie warmers and opening the turnstiles, from January 1 this year all energy used by the MCG is GreenPower coming solely from renewable sources. 

It means that even though we’re less than two months into 2022, the MCG has already cut its greenhouse emissions by close to 1,000 tonnes - the equivalent to taking 214 cars off the road for one year.

This is the latest sustainability initiative to come out of a partnership between the MCG and EnergyAustralia, going back five years. 

An earlier effort, in 2018, saw EnergyAustralia make the MCG carbon neutral during the AFL finals month of September. It installed 12 solar powered lights and security cameras in 2019, lighting the way for those coming to the ‘G through Yarra Park and keeping them safe. 

The following year it put in 220 solar panels along the roofline of the Northern Stand, powering the stadium’s innovative water recycling facility, which impressively turns sewerage into Class A water. Then in August last year the energy retailer installed 14 solar compactus bins in Yarra Park, crushing rubbish down to a fifth of its normal size so requiring less garbage trucks to empty bins. 

Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) chief executive officer, Stuart Fox, said this latest initiative is a huge moment in the sustainability journey of the MCG. 

This is a really exciting initiative for the MCC and EnergyAustralia – to work together and provide a first for major stadiums in the country. We have a keen focus on environmental sustainability at the MCG – from our water recycling plant and organics dehydrator to the solar panels installed on the roof a couple of years ago with EnergyAustralia. 

To have all of the MCG’s energy needs provided by 100 per cent renewables is a great step on our sustainability journey. At the MCG, we’re about inspiring excellence and leading by example, so we hope to see this initiative continued into other stadiums and venues across the country.

EnergyAustralia chief customer officer, Mark Brownfield, said: 

Since 2017 we’ve been helping the MCG become more sustainable. And now we’ve kicked the winning goal – getting the MCG running off 100 percent renewables in an Australian first. 

But EnergyAustralia is about more than just big stadiums – we’re focused on helping households go green too. Through our Go Neutral offer we’ve offset nearly three million tonnes of carbon dioxide on behalf of customers – all at no additional cost to them. And our solar panel and battery bundles make it easy and affordable for families to go solar. 

We’ve got our eye on the big picture too. We recently updated our Climate Change Statement with a clear commitment to have net zero emissions (scope one, two and three) by 2050, to be out of coal by 2040, and to reduce our direct emissions by 60 percent by 2028/29 relative to 2019-20. 

As part of this, we have announced the early retirement of the Yallourn coal-fired power station in mid-2028 and are building Australia’s first net zero emissions gas and hydrogen capable power plant, pumped hydro energy storage, and large-scale battery storage projects.

We’re doing, not just dreaming, when it comes to making the clean energy transition a reality.

@PanStadiaArena