Case Studies

Northern Beaches Council Battery Energy Storage Feasibility Study

Council’s ‘Creative Space’ centre in North Curl Curl is a small energy user, and hosts art galleries, community events and the like. The potential for solar and battery energy storage was assessed. With large trees providing some shading and limited space for siting of inverters and batteries this project called for innovation, with the use of high-efficiency panels (minimise footprint), micro-inverters (minimise shade impact) and Enphase batteries (small storage requirements) recommended. Given some intermittency in energy use at the site, storage is an essential component that will maximise savings in future.

Power offset chart 100% RenewablesWhile not very economic at this time this project may be an effective way to demonstrate and communicate solar and storage solutions in the community. Council is currently evaluating options available to progress this opportunity.

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley Battery Energy Storage Feasibility Study

The Schwartz Family Company has been highly proactive in implementing energy efficiency, solar PV and electric vehicle opportunities across its hotels and resorts. The assessment of battery energy storage feasibility looked at the Crowne Plaza resort in the NSW Hunter Valley.
A mix of historical villa-level quarterly energy data and more recent NMI-level interval data covering whole-villages was used to construct seasonal load profiles at the level of villa clusters that are located within each village. Site inspections were carried out to assess the potential for rooftop solar PV, metering arrangements and possible suitable locations for battery storage. Modelling was performed to estimate the optimum solar + storage solution that can meet almost 90% of the annual power requirements of villa clusters.

South Village Cluster power offset chart

While not cost-effective in terms of energy savings, the assessment has identified two potential future storage scenarios, at villa cluster level and at whole-village level where a larger storage system could service multiple villa clusters.

Port Macquarie Hastings Council

Barbara and Patrick were engaged by Port Macquarie Hastings Council in January 2016 for the development of Council’s long term sustainable energy plan for Council’s operations. As part of the work we are reviewing Council’s current energy state including previous energy initiatives undertaken.

We are providing advice on the suitability, benefits and costs of utilising Council’s existing assets to generate renewable energy. We are analysing current and future opportunities and options for the development of a long-term energy strategy, which

  • focuses on the future financial sustainability of Council
  • references similar and leading organisations (public and private)
  • identifies future potential partnerships that may be available to Council in the development of energy initiatives
  • Identifies short, medium and long term objectives/initiatives that Council could pursue in its upcoming Delivery Program to achieve components of the long-term energy strategy i.e. a roadmap

Renewable Energy and Emission Reduction Plan for Coffs Harbour Council

On 18 December 2014 Coffs Harbour City Council adopted a 100% renewable energy target as per Council resolution 372. Pursuant to this Sustainable Business Consulting (SBC) was engaged to develop a Renewable Energy and Emission Reduction Plan (REERP) for Coffs Harbour Council that would develop pathways to achieving this target.

The development of the REERP forms part of a clearly defined Council framework for monitoring, reviewing and reporting on Council’s emissions. The stages being followed are based on the stages identified in their Greenhouse Action Strategy 2002 (which in turn was based on the ICLEI Cities for Climate Protection program stages).

The stages of the REERP are as indicated in the figure below, along with several reports that formed the backdrop for SBC’s work. Council’s work started with Stage 1, which was the development of CHCC’s emissions profile; an outcome from this work is that Council monitors and reports on emissions from electricity, street lighting and Council’s fleet.

Stage 2 was about the adoption of emission reduction targets. The following goals were provisionally adopted:

  • 25% corporate emissions reduction by 2020
  • 25% renewable energy by 2020
  • 50% corporate emissions reduction by 2025
  • 50% renewable energy by 2025
  • 100% renewable energy by 2030

Stage 3 was the preparation of the REERP / Plan, by SBC. This stage involved the preparation of a corporate emissions reduction plan outlining actions to be undertaken by Council to achieve the adopted emission reduction targets. The REERP identified and prioritised areas that will yield the largest emission reductions per unit cost. The REERP is underpinned by analysis of Inghams’s energy use and carbon emissions data, stakeholder engagement workshops and one-on-one meetings, extensive site visits, Councillor and Mayoral briefings, and consultation with various industry stakeholders including retailers, networks, solar PV suppliers, CSIRO, finance organisations and others.

Following adoption of the REERP by Council, which is expected in early 2016, Stage 4 will be about the implementation of the actions that are identified in the REERP, from energy efficiency in Council facilities, upgrading streetlighting, rooftop solar PV, waste-to-energy, and potentially large-scale solar PV on Council land or via agreement with a regional renewable energy project developer.

Once the REERP is under implementation, Stage 5 involves monitoring and reporting on Council’s actions undertaken, emissions reductions, cost savings achieved and progress towards the emissions reduction and renewable energy targets.

The major deliverables for the REERP have included:

  • Evaluated and costed plan for 2020 (FY2020) which includes streetlighting and ‚behind-the-meter’ PV within Council’s facilities,
  • FY2025 plan for energy efficiency and renewable energy generation on Council facilities and land, and
  • FY2030 plan for renewable energy developments that will see Council reach its 100% goal

For further information on the REERP and services delivered by SBC, please contact:

Referee: Chris Chapman, Director Sustainable Communities, 02 6648 4601, 2015, Coffs Harbour City Council engaged and worked with Sustainable Business Consulting (SBC) in the preparation of the Coffs Harbour Emissions Reduction Plan.
SBC brought a strong and engaging methodology to the project which focused on making sure that we got key organisational stakeholders on board and that we got their buy-in to the project.It was interesting to see all the options Inghams staff had in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy and to watch the progress on how unsuitable options were filtered out to arrive at the business cases that made the most sense from an environmental and financial perspective. As you can appreciate, that financial viability is very important for Council to make sure that the plan was able to be financed using innovative financing and delivery options.SBC provided great advice on the technical feasibility of energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities to ensure that we made the target and interim targets tangible as well as aligning the targets with Council‘s existing strategy and plans.SBC were very responsive and always made sure that Council‘s requirements were met and/or exceeded. It was a pleasure to work with Barbara and her team due to their engaging style and technical knowledge and I would recommend SBC to other organisation’s that are moving down this path.

Renewable Energy Master Plan for Lismore City Council

Lismore City Council set itself the target to generate 100% of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2023. This arose from the Imagine Lismore process, through which the community’s vision for Council as a model of sustainability was articulated.

SBC developed the Renewable Energy Master Plan (REMP) and associated Action Plan by analysing Council’s electricity consumption, undertaking site energy audits, and by analysing energy efficiency and the renewable energy potential. We consulted extensively with stakeholders through one-on-one meetings and a number of workshops. Council’s preferred technologies were analysed in depth and presented to stakeholders, leading to the selection and development of seven energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions that underpin the achievement of the 100% self-generation target.

Reaching the goal of 100% self-generation will be delivered in two stages. In Stage 1, a range of energy efficiency and ‘behind-the-meter’ solar PV systems will be implemented to deliver a significant part of the target. The second stage of works is a bigger and more ambitious undertaking, involving the implementation of large-scale solar energy generation, augmented by solar PV storage and virtual net metering solutions as these become available and commercially viable.

So that the REMP could be implemented easily within Council, SBC also developed a detailed energy action plan, which will facilitate the planning and implementation of the REMP annually during the target period. The action plan will ensure that budgets and resources are available for implementation and will support the communication of the REMP to the community and Council.

Lismore City Council’s REMP can be found here:

Referee: Sharyn Hunnisett, Environmental Strategies Officer, 02 6625 0574, City Council (LCC) boldly committed to become self-sufficient in electricity from renewable resources by 2023. We were one of the first Councils to commit to such a ground-breaking sustainability goal, and we needed expert assistance to develop a practical plan to reach our goal within the limited time frame. Initially the task seemed daunting, but with SBC’s help it all seemed straight forward and achievable. SBC gave us confidence. Stakeholder engagement was really well planned. Our key stakeholders were involved and brought on board throughout the process with interactive workshops, one-on-one meetings and site visits. What I liked was that SBC delivered a strategy and action plan which was very clear and most of all, practical. This has enabled Council to move straight into implementing actions. SBC provided help beyond the development of the plan and helped with moving into the implementation stage. I found that what sets SBC apart is their outstanding knowledge in the field, in addition to their excellent ability to adjust the approach and delivery specifically to the organisations requirements. SBC is very responsive and always willing to help, and always delivers. I would highly recommend them for any project where the client is seeking sustainability leadership through their carbon or energy management.


Gary Murphy, General Manager Lismore City Council

Lismore City Council has set itself the ambitious goal to be self-sufficient in electricity use by 2023. Sustainable Business Consulting was selected to analyse our energy situation, consult with staff and Councillors and to deliver our Renewable Energy Master Plan. They were professional and engaging in their delivery and provided great value to Council. I would recommend them to any organisation who are looking for a long-term renewable energy plan.