Case Studies

Net-zero case study: Canada Bay Council and community emissions pathway

Canada Bay Council tasked 100% Renewables with the development of two technical studies to understand how emissions can be reduced for both Council operations and the community. The technical studies of the ERP drew on extensive analysis of Council’s emissions profile, population and urban density projections, renewable energy trends, stakeholder engagement, as well as an assessment and prioritisation of savings opportunities.

As part of this project, a community survey was run, and two workshops were held to gauge the community’s perspective on what Council and the community should prioritise with regards to climate change and reducing emissions. We also performed site visits across Council’s facilities and ran workshops with Council staff and the Environmental Advisory Committee to get input into the development of the two studies.

Council was committed to setting climate action targets which considered Australia’s global emission reduction obligations, goals set by other councils in NSW, as well as input from the community and Council staff. The ERP sets out the following ambitious, but achievable carbon reduction and renewable energy goals.

  • Corporate target: Net-zero emissions from Council operations by 2030
  • Community target: Net-zero emissions from the City of Canada Bay community by 2050

The pathway to net-zero emissions for Council’s operations is supported by 62 cost-effective actions that Council can take to reduce its corporate emissions, which include:

  • Continued energy efficiency upgrades to buildings and sporting fields, including fuel switching
  • Street lighting upgrades to LED technology
  • Increasing the amount of energy generated from onsite solar PV systems
  • Adjusting practices, basic controls and O&M procedures to reduce energy waste such as high night-time demand
  • Fleet emissions reduction from hybrid vehicles, and in future potentially electric vehicles
  • Adopting sustainable procurement policies for all capital works and purchases of energy-using equipment
  • Increasing the amount of renewable energy sourced via power purchase agreements (PPA)

Alongside the target for Councils operations, a target of net-zero emissions by 2050 for the community was set by consulting the community. Council will assist the community in achieving its target by

  • Leading by example
  • Empowering the community through initiatives and programs about buying renewable energy and energy efficiency
  • Supporting local community groups and schools to install solar PV systems
  • Advocating for sustainable transport and engagement around waste initiatives

These initiatives and programs were quantified and broken down into 33 discreet actions to reduce emissions to net-zero.

For more information, please refer to this blog post or download our case study.

pdf-iconNet-zero case study “Canada Bay Council and community – emissions pathway
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Case Study – Nambucca Valley Council REAP 

In 2018, Nambucca Valley Council engaged 100% Renewables to prepare a Renewable Energy Action Plan (REAP) to set out how Council can transition to renewable stationary energy. The REAP was presented to Council and was adopted on the 24th of April 2019.

The REAP drew on extensive analysis of Council’s emissions profile, stakeholder engagement and assessment and prioritisation of savings opportunities across Council’s facilities. Short, medium and long term action plans were developed. Based on energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities that were identified the following goals were recommended:

  • Reduce Council’s annual corporate emissions from 2017/18 levels by 60% by 2025
  • Reach 60% renewable energy by 2030

These goals are underpinned by a range of energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities including:

  • A total of 263 kW of solar PV opportunities across buildings, water and sewer sites
  • Street lighting LED upgrades of local and main roads which are expected to generate energy savings of 560 MWh (or 19% of Council’s electricity use)
  • Building LED lighting upgrades which are expected to generate energy savings of 48 MWh
  • Where equipment is being replaced, or new equipment is being installed, Council should ensure that sustainable purchasing processes are used, aligned to local government guidelines
  • Renewable energy power purchase agreement of 25% in the medium term, increasing in the long term

In addition, the REAP set out eleven financing options available to Council to fund energy  efficiency and solar projects.

How is Council progressing with the implementation of the REAP?

Council has already implemented some major initiatives since adopting the REAP. One of these opportunities is the upgrade of its local road streetlights to LED technology. This will help reduce Council’s electricity consumption by 12% per year.

With further support from the SCC Program, we were able to develop technical specifications and evaluate quotations for the implementation of a 50 kW rooftop solar PV system on its Macksville Administration Office, and Council will shortly  implement solar PV at four additional sites. All sites are drawn from the short-term action plan in the REAP. It is anticipated that savings from these will help to continue to fund the REAP in coming years.

Council was also successful in securing a grant that will enable it to install energy-efficient heat pumps and thermal blankets at the Macksville Memorial Aquatic Centre, and as part of this work, Council is assessing the scope for solar panels to be installed that would offset the additional energy that will be consumed by the heat pumps.

For more information, please refer to this blog post or download our case study.

pdf-iconCase study “Nambucca Valley Council Renewable Energy Action Plan
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How Randwick Council achieved >40% energy savings at Lionel Bowen Library

Randwick City Council has set a number of ambitious environmental sustainability targets for its operations, including targets for reduced greenhouse gas emissions. In March 2018, Council adopted the following targets:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from Council’s operations – net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, including but not limited to the following measures:
    • Council’s total energy consumption – 100% replacement by renewable sources (generated on site or off-site for Council’s purposes) by 2030.
    • Council’s vehicle fleet – net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Energy eficiency is a key strategy for achieving these goals, as set out in the 100% Renewable Energy Roadmap completed in early 2020.

pdf-iconHow Randwick Council achieved >40% energy savings at Lionel Bowen Library”
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Concurrent with the development of Council’s 100% Renewable Energy Roadmap, Randwick initiated a project to roll out LED lighting at selected sites, including the library. A multi-faceted process included the

  • development of the business case to secure internal support and approval,
  • selection of a preferred supplier,
  • implementation of a trial ‘LED space’ and measurement of light and energy savings as well as visitor perceptions of the upgraded space,
  • influencing key internal stakeholders to support the whole-facility rollout,
  • implementation including claiming the Energy Saving Certificates (ESCs) for the project, and
  • measurement of the energy savings.

During the development of the 100% Renewable Energy Roadmap it was observed that after-hours control of several of the library’s air conditioning systems was not working effectively. In addition, a storeroom fan system in the basement of the building was observed to be running continuously.

Consultation with facilities management staff indicated that faulty BMS controllers meant that time schedules as well as after-hours controls were not correct, and quotes would be sought for new timers to rectify this. Quotes for a new timer for the storeroom fan system were also sought.

In late 2019, the new time control measures were implemented, with significant immediate energy savings identified in load data for the library. The combined impact of the LED lighting and air conditioning system control changes has been to reduce the library’s electricity consumption by nearly 40% when comparing similar periods of 2017/18 with energy consumption in early 2020.

Tweed Shire Council’s REAP ramps up with solar installations

Tweed Shire Council set itself a target to self-generate 25% of the Council’s energy from renewable resources by 2022, and 50% by 2025. Council’s Renewable Energy Action Plan (REAP) sets out the actions that Council will implement to meet these targets.

With around 230 kW of rooftop solar installed before the REAP was adopted, Council installed a further ~200 kW at the Tweed Regional Museum and Tweed Regional Aquatic Centre (TRAC), both in Murwillumbah in 2018/19.

pdf-iconCase study “Tweed Shire Council’s REAP ramps up
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In May 2019, Council also voted to approve the development of a 604 kW ground-mounted solar array at its Banora Point Wastewater Treatment (WWTP) plant, Council’s most energy-intensive facility.

With planning for this major project well underway, Council has also implemented several new roof and ground-mounted systems in recent months, including two systems at its Bray Park Water Treatment Plant and water pumping station, and systems at Kingscliff WWTP and Mooball WWTP.

Council is also working to deliver new rooftop solar projects at sites across Tweed Heads and Kingscliff in the coming months. With the completion of these projects Council’s total installed solar PV capacity will be close to 1,500 kW, which is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 300 homes, or the same as taking 540 cars off the road.

Coffs Harbour Council is ‘powering ahead’ with solar installations

In 2016, Coffs Harbour City Council adopted its Renewable Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan (REERP), which was developed by 100% Renewables. The REERP sets ambitious carbon reduction and renewable energy goals:

  • Reduce Council’s annual corporate emissions from 2010 levels by 50% by 2025
  • Reach 100% renewable energy by 2030

The REERP drew on extensive analysis of Council’s emissions profile, stakeholder engagement and assessment and prioritisation of savings opportunities.

pdf-iconCase study “Coffs Harbour Council powering ahead
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Since the development of the plan, the council has implemented major initiatives, in particular, its street lights were upgraded to LED technology with significant energy savings.  ‘Powering Ahead’ is the next stage in the REERP implementation, and involves the rollout of rooftop and ground-mounted solar PV to 16 sites.

These include a 150 kW solar PV system at the Coffs Harbour Regional Airport, and an innovative 20 kW and+ 25 kWh solar and battery project at the Cavanbah Centre.

There is also a large 870 kW ground-mounted solar array planned at the Coffs Harbour Water Reclamation Plant, and a 492 kW system at the Karangi Water Treatment Plant.

In total, Coffs Harbour City Council will install 2,100 kW of solar PV, equivalent to the energy consumption of 420 houses and 750 cars taken off the road.

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.