All posts by Barbara Albert

Act now – Government-funded support for energy-saving opportunities

Save money on energy by accessing free Government support

2020 is not an easy year for businesses. Many have been affected by drought, bushfires or flooding, and with the current Covid-19 pandemic, businesses are suffering further.

One of the highest costs after wages can be your energy consumption. This is where the Government-funded energy coaching program comes in. The NSW Government is providing funding for experts to visit your sites, provide expert energy support and to develop recommendations for how you can save money.

We have been working with NSW Dept of Planning Industry and Environment (DPIE) on their energy management coaching program for business for a few months and would like to inform our followers of this great opportunity.

Depending on the size of your energy consumption, you may be eligible for up to $35,000 in support.

How can you save money on energy?

Energy is wasted by utilising old technology and controls, leaving plant and equipment on when not in use, having sub-optimal temperature or process settings, or having reactive rather than preventative maintenance procedures. Often, energy waste occurs because there is insufficient time or resources to devote to manage energy effectively and plan for improvements.

We can help you identify where you are unnecessarily spending money and may even be able to help you apply for more funding to upgrade or replace equipment.

How much money is the Government making available?

Support for medium energy users

If your business spends at least $30,000 on electricity and gas in a year, then you may be eligible for 20 hours of one-on-one coaching.

Support for high energy users

There may be even more support if your business spends more than $500,000 annually. In this case, we will benchmark the energy performance of your business and help define a project that can improve your energy management.

Please note that even if you are spending more than $500,000 per year, you can access also the 20 hours of one-on-one coaching.

Are you eligible for this program?

Your business must be in NSW, have an ABN and be registered for GST. For medium energy users, you need to prove that you spend more than $30,000 per year on energy.

For high energy users, you need to show that you spend more than $500,000 per year on energy. Your organisation must also be in the mining, agriculture, or selected manufacturing sub-sectors, or have an annual energy usage above 3,000 MWh in any manufacturing sub-sector.

How does it work, and what will you need to do?

The NSW Government has appointed 100% Renewables Pty Ltd to a panel to help with delivering this program. Once you have determined whether you are eligible for this support, you will need to email us. For the businesses we can support, we will help you complete an application form and liaise with the Department to secure your participation in the program. Once you have been approved, we will arrange for a suitable time to visit your site, identify savings opportunities and develop business cases to support implementation.

Is there any cost involved?

There is no cost involved for your business for the 20 hours of one-on-one coaching. Originally, businesses had to co-fund energy coaching. However, in the current Covid-19 environment, this fee has been removed.

For high energy users, DPIE will provide up to $35,000 for us to help you implement the project, with your business funding 20% of total costs.

How to apply:

If you think your business could benefit from free energy-saving advice, please send an email to patrick@100percentrenewables.com.au or call Patrick at 0408 413 597. Please include the following details:

  1. Name and address of your business
  2. Describe your main business activity
  3. Your contact details
  4. How much you spend on energy in a year
  5. Two recent bills for electricity and gas, if applicable

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their climate change strategies and action plans, and supporting the implementation and achievement of ambitious targets. If you need help to develop your Climate Change Strategy, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

 

5 key considerations for Climate Emergency Plans [includes video]

This blog post follows on from the one last week. I recently presented to the Maribyrnong community in Melbourne on emissions trends and barriers to the uptake of renewables, as well as considerations for the development of climate emergency plans. Today’s article discusses five key considerations.

You can also watch me talk about these five key considerations in this 5-min video:

About the Climate Emergency

The problem of rising GHG emissions

Global temperatures are rising and will continue to grow. Without globally significant efforts, greenhouse gas emissions may increase to over 100 billion tonnes annually by 2100, which is double current emissions. Even if all countries met their current pledges under the Paris Agreement, we are on track to exceed 1.5°C of warming (above pre-industrial temperatures), and to then increase by 3-5°C by 2100 — with additional warming beyond.

Projected temperature increase according to Climate Action Tracker

Figure 1: Projected temperature increase according to Climate Action Tracker

Rising global temperature causes catastrophic impacts, such as bushfires, droughts, floods, severe weather events, heat waves, rising sea levels and disruptions to our food supply.

By how much do we need to decrease emissions to have a ‘safe climate’?

According to climate science, a safe climate is one where global temperature increase stays less than 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures. We need to decrease our emissions by 45% from 2010 to 2030 and then to net-zero by mid-century to give us a 50/50 chance of meeting this target. This means that we need to almost halve our emissions by 2030.

Emitting greenhouse gases under a ‘current policies’ scenario means that climate risk will be catastrophic. Incremental change is not enough to get climate risk to an acceptable level. The only way this risk can be adequately managed is by rapid action.

Declaring a climate emergency

Declaring a climate emergency recognises that aiming for net-zero by 2050 may be too late. It means that your climate efforts need to

  • start now,
  • increase in scale rapidly and
  • continue for decades.

In 2016, Darebin City Council in Victoria was the first government in the world to declare a climate emergency. Now, as of the 1st of May, 95 Australian local governments have made the same declaration.

Following the declaration of a climate emergency, you need to develop a Climate Emergency Plan that sets out how you will help address the climate emergency.

5 key considerations for developing Climate Emergency Plans

Consideration #1: Net-zero ASAP

If your council declares a climate emergency, you should aim to achieve net-zero emissions for your LGA as soon as possible, for instance by 2030. You may even need to target negative emissions by mid-century by incorporating drawdown measures.

Drawdown is the projected point in time when the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stops increasing and begins to reduce. Drawdown can only be achieved by removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, such as through agriculture and forestry.

Consideration #2: Include adaptation and resilience in your plan

Climate change is not some distant impact in the future. It’s here, and it’s affecting us already. Your climate emergency plan needs to include actions on how your council and community can adapt to climate change, in addition to reducing your carbon emissions.

Adaptation for council operations means that built assets, such as roads, stormwater drains and buildings, may not be able to withstand flooding, fire and intense storms. It means that your zoning and planning decisions will probably need to change and that there may be an increased demand for council services, such as water supply or community support for the elderly. Your area may also experience food supply issues. You will need to have emergency response plans for severe weather events, heat waves, flooding and bushfires and need to risk-assess the impacts on your community and corporate services.

Council also needs to help the community be resilient in the face of climate change. Resilience is the ability to withstand and recover from climate change impacts. As an example, you could help the community grow their own food and to develop resilience plans that assist your residents and businesses in bouncing back after a disaster.

Consideration #3: Include the community

Emissions for the operations of a local government are much smaller than overall community emissions. It is not uncommon for council’s emissions to only constitute 1% of overall emissions in the LGA. It’s not enough to focus on how council itself can mitigate against and adapt to climate change; the plan also needs to incorporate the community.

Climate emergency plan for the community should be developed with the community, by involving them through surveys and workshops, and by forming environmental advisory committees.

Emissions for council operations are small in comparison to community emissions

Figure 2: Emissions for council operations are small in comparison to community emissions

Consideration #4: Everyone must act

While the Federal and State governments have the greatest levers to reduce carbon emissions, local governments are closest to their communities. They play an important role in both mitigation and adaptation.

However, a council cannot alone bear the weight of emissions reduction and adapting to climate change in a community. Householders, business and all levels of government must collaborate to achieve the goals.

Local governments are in a great position to work directly with the community and to help them with addressing climate change rapidly. Council should also lobby other local governments, the state and federal governments to be more ambitious in their climate change action.

Consideration #5: Solutions already exist – they just need to be implemented

It’s easy to defer action by claiming that in future, better solutions will exist. The fact is though, that we already have all the solutions we need to mitigate against climate change. They only need to be implemented and fast.

It’s crucial to extend the scope of a climate emergency plan to a wide area of impact categories. Key solution areas of climate emergency plans are energy efficiency, solar PV, grid decarbonisation, transport, waste, buying clean energy, consumption of goods and services, emerging technologies, governance and leadership, forestry and agriculture, climate risk, clean energy generation, stationary fuel switching, education, and planning & development.

Key solution areas of climate emergency plans

Figure 3: Key solution areas of climate emergency plans

Within those solution areas, the biggest levers to achieve emission reduction in the community are solar panels on as many roofs as possible, energy efficiency in homes and businesses, electrification of space and water heating, electric vehicles, and waste diversion from landfill.

100% Renewables are experts in developing climate action strategies, both for council operations, as well as for the community. If you need help to develop your Climate Change Strategy, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

Emissions, renewables and barriers to uptake [includes video]

I was recently asked to give a speech to the Maribyrnong community in Melbourne to help them with the development of a climate emergency plan. The session started with me presenting on energy-related emission trends and developing climate emergency plans, followed by a Q&A session.

In this blog post, I’ll write about energy-related emission trends, and I also recorded myself in a video. In the next article, I will go deeper into the development of climate emergency plans.

Global energy-related emission trends

In the last thirty years, energy-related carbon emissions have risen from a little over 20 Gt CO2-e to about 33 Gt CO2-e, which was mainly due to an increase in energy consumption by developing nations, as can be seen in Figure 1.

Energy-related CO2 emissions, 1990-2019

Figure 1: Energy-related CO2 emissions, 1990-2019[1]

Energy-related emissions by advanced economies is at nearly the same level today as in 1990. This is illustrated clearly when we look at emissions from electricity generation in advanced economies below in Figure 2. We can see here that while demand for electricity grew by approximately 300% over roughly 50 years, related carbon emissions have grown at a much slower rate. If fact, since the Global Financial Crisis, corresponding GHG emissions have rapidly decoupled.

Electricity generation and power sector CO2 emissions in advanced economies, 1971-2019

Figure 2: Electricity generation and power sector CO2 emissions in advanced economies, 1971-2019[2]

The decoupling of electricity and emissions in advanced economies is due in large part to the growth in renewables. In 2019, almost 70% of new global generation was from renewables compared to only 25% in 2001, as shown in Figure 3. In 2017, 20% of global power capacity was renewables, in 2019 it was one third!

 

Renewable share of annual power capacity expansion

Figure 3: Renewable share of annual power capacity expansion[3]

Emission trends in Australia

These global trends are repeated in Australia, though at a somewhat slower rate than in other leading economies. By 2040, of the 16 coal-fired plants in the National Electricity Market (NEM), nine are expected to be closed, with the remaining seven expected to close by around 2050.

Even without new policies and targets, the renewables share of electricity will grow, which means that together with increased energy efficiency, emissions from electricity generation should decrease by 2030 to almost 1990 levels, as shown in Figure 4.

Electricity emissions trend in Australia

Figure 4: Electricity emissions trend in Australia[4]

This trend is the right direction, but the rate is not fast enough to align with climate change science. So why are renewables not replacing coal sooner?

Barriers for the uptake of renewables in Australia

There are a range of barriers at the grid level as well as at consumer levels that influence the uptake of renewables.

Major barriers for renewables at a grid-level

Investment uncertainty

Due to the lack of clear federal policy and direction, there is great investment uncertainty for renewable energy project developers. If the business case for projects is uncertain, new projects stall. Some of this inaction is made up for by the positive actions by States & Territories, such as Victoria and the ACT, who have legislated higher renewables. NSW is also implementing new renewable energy zones to boost the growth of renewables and jobs in regional areas.

Connection and transmission issues

Many renewable energy projects are finding it hard to connect to the transmission or distribution network due to congestion issues. Marginal Loss Factors (MLF) also tend to negatively affect the business case of renewable energy projects, which are located further from the grid than ‘traditional’ coal-fired generators. So, for the same generation, coal-fired operators will receive more than renewable generators that are located further from the grid.

Lack of transmission infrastructure

Renewable generation areas are not the same as centralised coal-fired locations, so new transmission infrastructure is needed, which has to be financed and built.

Major barriers for renewables at a community level

Australia is the most successful country globally in terms of the proportion of households with solar, with more than 20% of homes generating their own clean energy. This is more than double the next highest penetration. However, despite this barriers remain to more widespread and rapid uptake of solar.

Information

Some people and businesses simply may not know that installing solar panels helps them to save money and so don’t evaluate the opportunity. They may also not have a trusted installer and don’t know how to go about finding a suitable supplier.

Capital cost

For many people, the capital outlay of solar panels is a significant barrier to reaping the financial benefits of free generation once the initial money has been spent.

Pricing signals

Energy pricing and metering do not yet adequately facilitate demand response at a household and small business level.

Priorities

People may know that installing solar panels is a good idea, but they may have other priorities that they attend to first.

Renters versus owners

It’s relatively simple for people and businesses that own their premises to install solar on their roofs. It is much harder for people and businesses who rent. We have developed fact sheets for North Sydney Council that help overcome this problem.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article, which is going to progress in to the development of Climate Emergency Plans that councils and communities can develop to accelerate their switch to renewables.

100% Renewables are experts in developing climate emergency plans, and supporting the implementation and achievement of ambitious targets. If you need help to develop your Climate Emergency Strategy, please contact Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

[1] IEA, Global CO2 emissions in 2019 – https://www.iea.org/articles/global-co2-emissions-in-2019

[2] IEA, Electricity generation and power sector CO2 emissions in advanced economies, 1971-2019, IEA, Paris

[3] IRENA – Renewable capacity highlights 2020

[4] The Commonwealth Government – Department of Industry – Australia’s emissions projections 2019

The importance of energy efficiency in reaching net zero emissions

As part of the Paris Agreement, we need to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, which means that we need to reach zero net emissions from the second half of this century.

Energy efficiency means to either perform the same activity with less energy input or accomplish more activity with the same amount of energy input. Either way, you achieve more with each unit of energy consumed.

Think of energy efficiency as the cheapest and cleanest fuel you can use, as it is measured and valued as the quantity of energy you do not use. The higher the price you pay for your electricity, the greater the value to being more productive with your energy input.

Apart from saving you money, improving energy efficiency means that your renewable energy needs will be smaller, which can make your journey to net-zero emissions less expensive. It also reduces the environmental impact of manufacturing, transporting, and installing renewables.

You can improve energy efficiency by implementing procedural changes, engaging staff, and retrofitting and upgrading equipment. Energy is wasted by leaving appliances and equipment on when not in use, having inadequately controlled temperature or process settings, using old technology, having poor maintenance procedures, or by staff not being aware of the correct operation of equipment.

Examples of retrofitting or upgrading equipment include:

  • lighting replacements
  • improving building envelopes to reduce heating and cooling energy demand
  • optimising or upgrading the HVAC system, lighting sensors and timers
  • re-engineering manufacturing processes or implementing new process technology
  • implementing metering and monitoring processes
  • installing variable speed drives on motors used to drive equipment, like fans and pumps

Even the largest and most sophisticated energy users can find additional opportunities for cost-effective energy savings.

One of the best ways to uncover energy efficiency opportunities is to undertake an energy audit. Energy audits can be a bit daunting, and it helps to engage experts. While in the past, we used to perform energy audits onsite, we have now adjusted our business processes so that we can deliver a seamless online experience for our customers.

Using technology, our virtual energy audits will save you time, money and upskill your staff, while our carbon footprint is also reduced. We will shortly publish a video that shows how virtual energy audits work.

Covid-19 is forcing many businesses to look at reducing costs where they can. An energy audit will achieve cost savings, not only in the short but also in the medium and longer-term. To see if you have opportunities to save money by not wasting energy, contact Barbara or Patrick.

Focusing on energy efficiency can be a cultural shift for many organisations, and implementing these changes can take time. We recommend implementing an Energy Management System, like ISO 50001, which works for all organisations, regardless of size, industry, or location, to embed an ongoing culture of energy management and efficiency within your organisation.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

Part 4: University leadership – fossil fuel divestments

To recap, we have already published three blog posts of our University leadership series. Part 1 showed the ambitious renewable energy and carbon-neutral commitments of leading universities across Australia, Part 2 highlighted universities with Green Star certified buildings, and Part 3 detailed universities’ commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs.

This is Part 4 of our tertiary education sector blog series where we look at the role of universities in fossil fuel divestments. We briefly discussed this previously in our blog post in 2017 which highlighted a number of universities who have committed to partially or fully divest from fossil fuels.

The movement to divest from the fossil fuel industry has grown rapidly in recent years and commitments have been made by many organisations, including local councils, charitable trusts, super funds and the ACT Government. Universities have been a central focus of the campaign with students urging their administrations to turn endowment investments in the fossil fuel industry into investments in clean energy and communities most impacted by climate change.

What is fossil fuel divestment?

According to Wikipedia, fossil fuel divestment is an attempt to reduce climate change by exerting social, political, and economic pressure for the institutional divestment of assets including stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments connected to companies involved in extracting fossil fuels.

Australian Ethical reports that, in 2019, the fossil fuel divestment movement is making it clear to companies who extract coal, oil or gas from the ground that they do so without a social licence. The release of harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere via the burning of these fossil fuels is threatening to destabilise life on this planet.

In Australia, fossil fuel divestment is being led by Universities and Local Councils as part of the global fossil fuel divestment campaign launched by 350.org in 2011.

Universities with fossil fuel divestment commitments

The following table shows universities that have made fossil fuel divestment commitments.

NoStateUniversityAcronymFossil fuel divestment commitments
1ACTAustralian National UniversityANUPartially divest by targeting coal
2NSWUniversity of NewcastleNEWCASTLE“We no longer directly invest in fossil fuel companies and we have integrated Mercer’s ESG ratings across the University’s investments.”
3NSWUniversity of New South WalesUNSWSignificantly reducing their investment in fossil fuels
4NSWUniversity of SydneyUSYDDivestment from many of Australia's largest 200 oil and gas companies
5QLDQueensland University of TechnologyQUT“No fossil fuel direct investments” and “no fossil fuel investments of material significance”
6VICLa Trobe UniversityLATROBEFully divest from fossil-fuel related company investments over the next five years
7VICMonash UniversityMONASHPartially divest by targeting coal
8VICSwinburne University of TechnologySWINBURNE"Divest from companies that earn significant revenues from fossil fuel extraction or coal power generation"
9VICUniversity of MelbourneUNIMELBDivest from companies that do not meet the requirements of a to-be-developed “sustainable investment framework for managing material climate change risk”, by 2021

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their climate change strategies and action plans, and supporting the implementation and achievement of ambitious targets. If you need help to develop your Climate Change Strategy, please contact Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

Part 3: University leadership – SDGs

Looking back at part 1 and part 2 of our University leadership climate change blog series, we highlighted the ambitious renewable energy and carbon-neutral commitments of leading universities across Australia as well as showcasing their efforts in the built environment to improve their carbon footprint by aiming for and achieving Green Star certification.

In this article, we focus on universities’ commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals or ‘SDGs’. According to the ‘Getting started with the SDGs in universities’ reference guide, engaging with the SDGs will benefit universities by helping them demonstrate the impact a university can have, capture demand for SDG-related education, build new partnerships, access new funding streams, and define a university that is responsible and globally aware. Education and research are explicitly recognised in a number of the SDGs and universities have a direct role in addressing these.

Universities commitment to the SDGs

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their associated 169 targets were agreed by all United Nations member states in September 2015 and constitute a shared global framework of development priorities to 2030. They aim to bring an end to extreme poverty, promote prosperity and well-being for all, protect the environment and address climate change, and encourage good governance, peace and security.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The University Commitment to the SDGs is a short statement that affirms a university’s intention to support and promote the SDGs through their research, education and operations, as well as report on activities in support of the goals.

The Commitment was initiated by SDSN Australia, NZ & Pacific (AusNZPac) as a tool to engage senior university leadership on the SDGs, start conversations within a university on how it can support them, and demonstrate to external stakeholders why universities are critical for addressing the SDGs.

The universities’ commitments include:

  • support and promote the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals
  • undertake research that provides solutions to sustainable development challenges
  • provide the educational opportunity for students to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development
  • contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by ensuring campuses and major programs are environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive, and
  • report on activities in support of the Sustainable Development Goals

Universities who have signed up to the SDGs

Below is the list of Australia’s universities who are signatories to the University Commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals[1].

StateUniversityDate SignedLink to Commitment
QLDJames Cook University19 August 2016Website
SAThe University of Adelaide26 August 2016Announcement
VICUniversity of Melbourne31 August 2016Sustainability Plan
VICMonash University1 September 2016Announcement
NSWUniversity of Technology, Sydney2 September 2016Announcement
VICRMIT University12 January 2017Website
NSWWestern Sydney University3 March 2017Announcement, Website
VICDeakin University3 April 2017Case Study
QLDGriffith University13 October 2017Website
VICSwinburne University of Technology21 June 2018Announcement
WAMurdoch University29 March 2019Announcement
TASUniversity of Tasmania18 April 2019Sustainable University Report
QLDBond University9 July 2019Website
NSWCharles Sturt University20 September 2019Announcement
NSWUniversity of Wollongong25 September 2019Announcement

[1] At the time of writing, the web page was last updated in September 2019.

Deakin University, Griffith University, La Trobe University, Monash University, RMIT University, University of Melbourne, University of Western Australia, University of Wollongong and  University of Technology Sydney  are also signatories to the UN Global Compact.

The UN Global Compact is a voluntary initiative based on CEO commitments to implement universal sustainability principles and to take steps to support UN goals. Here in Australia, we have the business-led network of the UN Global Compact, the Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA). The GCNA brings together signatories to the UN Global Compact in Australia to advance corporate sustainability and the private sector’s contribution to sustainable development.

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their climate change strategies and action plans, and supporting the implementation and achievement of ambitious targets. If you need help to develop your Climate Change Strategy, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

Part 2: University leadership – Green Star certifications

In Part 1 of the University climate change leadership series, we highlighted the ambitious renewable energy and carbon-neutral commitments of leading universities across Australia.

With the built environment accounting for a large part of a university’s carbon footprint, building efficiency is an important part of any carbon management strategy. For new buildings, in particular, aiming for and achieving Green Star certification is increasingly important.

What is Green Star?

Green Star is a voluntary sustainability rating system for buildings and communities in Australia. It was launched in 2003 by the Green Building Council of Australia.

The Green Star rating system assesses a project’s sustainability across its life cycle and aims to encourage leadership in environmentally sustainable design and construction, innovative sustainable designs, and to highlight cost savings, health and productivity benefits of sustainable buildings.

There are four Green Star ratings:

  • Green Star – Communities (for precinct-scale developments),
  • Green Star – Design & As Built (design and construction of a building),
  • Green Star – Interiors (interior fit-out of a building),
  • Green Star – Performance (operational performance of a building).

Buildings that have been registered with Green Star cannot use the Green Star certification mark until the project is certified, but they can be listed as a registered project.

There are three Green Star rating scales for the first three of these categories:

  • 4 Star – Australian Best Practice
  • 5 Star – Australian Excellence
  • 6 Star – World Leadership

Buildings assessed against the Green Star – Performance rating tool are given a Green Star rating from 1 to 6 stars. For more information, go to https://new.gbca.org.au/.

Universities with Green Star certifications

Below is a list of universities in Australia which are Green Star Certified and Registered as at January 2020. All Green Star certified ratings are valid for a restricted period, except As Built certified ratings which do not expire.

The first 6 Star – Communities rating to be awarded to an Australian University is the University of Melbourne’s Parkville Campus, recognising world leadership in sustainable master planning.

NoStateUniversityRegistered
1VICMonash University1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **
2 (Design)
3 (As Built)
1
2VICUniversity of Melbourne1 (Design)
1 (Communities)
5 (Design)
1 (Design & As Built)
5
3NSWWestern Sydney University1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **3 (Design)
2 (As Built)
1 (Design)
4VICRMIT University5 (Design)
1 (Interior)
1 (Design)1
5NSWUniversity of Technology, Sydney1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **
1 (Interior)
2 (Design)
1 (As Built)
6VICLa Trobe University5 (Design)1
7SAUniversity of South Australia1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **
2 (Design)
1 (As Built)
8TASUniversity of Tasmania1 (Design & As Built)2 (Design)2
9WACurtin University1 (Interior)1 (Design)
1 (Communities)
3
10ACTAustralian National University1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **1 (Design)
11NSWAustralian Catholic University1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **1 (As Built)
12QLDUniversity of Queensland1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **1 (Design)
13QLDQueensland University of Technology1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **
1 (Design)
1
14NSWMacquarie University1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **3
15NSWUniversity of Newcastle1 (Design)1 (Design)1
16SAUniversity of Adelaide1 (Design)
1 (As Built)
17NSWCharles Sturt University1 (Design)1 (Design)
18VICVictoria University1 (Design)1 (Design)
19NSWUniversity of Wollongong1 (Design)1 (Design)
20NSWUniversity of New South Wales1 (Design)
21QLDGriffith University1 (Design)
22QLDBond University1 (Design)
23SAFlinders University1 (Communities)
24QLDUniversity of Southern Queensland1 (Design)
25ACTUniversity of Canberra1 (Design)
26VICSwinburne University of Technology1 (Design)
27NTCharles Darwin University1 (Design)
28NSWUniversity of Sydney1

**Ratings apply to the same building

 

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their energy and carbon strategies which lead to climate change leadership. If you need help with creating an action plan that takes into account science, input from key organisational stakeholders and is shaped to your needs, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

Inaugural Energy Leaders Forum and Inspiration Award

The inaugural Energy Leaders Forum (ELF)

I’ve been asked by Luke Poliszcuk, director of ‘Energy Leaders’ to present my vision for the energy sector in 2020 at their inaugural forum on 27 November 2019. The idea of energy leaders quickly resonated with people and the event was sold out within a week of making tickets available.

Barbara Albert presenting at Energy Leaders Forum Sydney Nov 2019
Barbara Albert presenting at the Energy Leaders Forum in Sydney, Nov 2019

About Energy Leaders

Energy Leaders pledge their commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), focused on smart, clean, efficient energy solutions that benefit society as a whole. Energy Leaders Forum (ELF) events provide the opportunity to interact with like-minded professionals in the clean energy sector to discuss projects, challenges and solutions, galvanise industry engagement and spark investment opportunities.

About the event

I had the pleasure to share the stage with many wonderful speakers; Ben Hutt, CEO at Evergen, Jackie McKeon from BRC-A, Liz Floyd from Polyglot and Mary Hendriks from the Australian Energy Storage Alliance.

After each of us shared our vision for the sector with the audience, we facilitated small group discussions to get input from forum participants on what they thought the most exciting opportunities were in 2020. Among opportunities identified were utility-scale developments, VPPs, integrated energy solutions for the strata sector, battery storage, corporate PPAs, green hydrogen, going beyond 100% renewables and microgrids.

The Energy Leaders forum will also run annual awards for energy leadership and forum participants brainstormed potential award categories. I’m proud to say that each of the speakers was presented with the very first Energy Leader Inspiration Award.

Barbara Albert Energy Leaders Inspiration Award
Barbara Albert, Energy Leaders Inspiration Award

My vision for the energy sector in 2020

We have 10 years left to achieve meaningful action and to limit global warming. To achieve that, we need the government, businesses, and communities to work together to reduce emissions. In the past decade, global emissions have risen by 1.5% every year. If we continue with our current emissions growth, we will end up with plus 4 degrees.

If current Paris pledges are implemented, global temperatures are projected to rise by 3°C. To stay within a 1.5°C threshold, we need to reduce worldwide emissions by 7.6% every year to avoid a climate crisis.

This is a transformative, unprecedented change that is needed across all sectors. We all need to catch up on the years in which we have procrastinated. We need an acceleration of our efforts, and everything needs to be done faster.

Transforming the electricity sector and renewable energy are two of the easiest opportunities we have to achieve fast emission reduction.

It is my vision and hope that organisations and governments will use 2020 as an opportunity to set a new baseline, look to 2030 in terms of their emissions reduction and develop a plan for how to reduce emissions rapidly.

And I think this vision is supported by the following opportunities:

  1. Renewables have become cheaper than fossil fuel-based energy
  2. Electric vehicles are within reach
  3. RE100
  4. Ambitious commitments by local governments, communities, and the education sector
  5. BRC-A
  6. SBTi
  7. SDGs
  8. NCOS have rebranded to Climate Active and expect membership numbers to increase significantly
  9. NSW’s new energy strategy
  10. Investors driving climate change risk disclosure

The following video shows an excerpt of the speech I delivered.

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their renewable energy and carbon reduction strategies. To find out more how we can help you, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

Ambitious commitments by states, local governments and communities – October 2019

100% Renewables has been tracking ambitious carbon and renewable energy commitments made by all levels of Australian governments since we developed the 100% Renewable Energy Master Plan for Lismore City Council in 2014. In May 2017, we published our first blog post on the energy and carbon commitments of states, territories and local governments. In March 2018, we posted an update of the carbon and renewable energy commitments, and then again in October 2018.

With the ever-increasing number of ambitious public commitments being made by local councils, this update splits the commitments of local governments into ones that focus on council operations and those that focus on their communities.

For the first time, we are also now covering membership by local councils of the Cities Power Partnership, CEDAMIA, the Global Compact of Mayors, and C40.

As has now become customary, we present a graphic with state and territories commitments. We also show state-by-state commitments by local governments and communities. The ACT, NSW and Victorian councils are still leading the way.

States’ and territories’ climate change commitments

States and territories are committing to both renewable energy as well as carbon reduction targets. Most targets are in line with the Paris Agreement, which means that zero net emissions have to be reached by mid-century.

STATE OR TERRITORYRENEWABLE ENERGY COMMITMENTCARBON COMMITMENT
Australia~20% from renewable energy sources by 2020 (33,000 GWh by 2020)
(Target achieved)
26-28% emissions reduction from 2005 levels by 2030
ACT100% renewable electricity by 2020 (Target achieved in October 2019)40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on 1990 levels by 2020
Zero net emissions by 2045
NSW20% from renewable energy in line with the RETZero net emissions by 2050
NT50% renewable energy by 2030Zero net emissions by 2050
SA50% renewable energy production by 2025
(Target achieved in 2018)
Zero net emissions by 2050
TAS100% renewable energy by 2022Commitment to establish a zero net emissions target by 2050
QLD50% renewable energy by 2030Zero net emissions by 2050
VIC25% renewable energy by 2020
40% renewable energy by 2025
50% renewable energy by 2030
Zero net emissions by 2050
WANo targetZero net emissions by 2050
100% RE - Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by states and territories
Figure 1: Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by states and territories

Capital cities’ climate change commitments

Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane have been carbon neutral for many years and soon, they will be joined by Adelaide and the ACT Government. Perth has a carbon reduction target of 20%, while Hobart doesn’t have any official targets, but has a strong history of carbon reduction initiatives.

Exciting news is that from January 2019, Melbourne has been powered by 100% renewable energy, and they will soon be followed by the City of Sydney. If you are interested in how you can achieve 100% renewable energy, you can read our blog post on ‘Eight ways to achieve 100% renewable electricity’.

CAPITAL CITYCOMMITMENT
ACT Government100% renewable electricity by 2020
40% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 by 2020
50–60% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 by 2025
65–75% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 by 2030
90-95% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 by 2040
Net zero emissions by 2045
AdelaideZero net emissions from council operations by 2020
First carbon neutral town by 2050
Brisbane
Carbon neutral council from 2017
Melbourne100% renewable energy from 2019
Carbon neutral from 2012
Net zero emissions for the LGA by 2050
Sydney100% renewable energy for council operations by 2021
Carbon neutral from 2008
Reduce emissions by 70% for the LGA by 2030
Net zero emissions for the LGA by 2050

Local governments – ambitious commitments

This table showcases ambitious carbon and energy commitments by capital cities and local governments and their communities. ‘Ambitious’ means that commitments need to be broadly in line with science.

We split the tables into renewable energy commitments and carbon reduction commitments.

If you are interested in learning more about the difference between renewable energy and carbon targets, you can read our blog post on whether carbon neutral and 100% renewables are the same.

 

STATE OR TERRITORYLOCAL GOVERNMENTSRENEWABLE ENERGY COMMITMENTCARBON COMMITMENT
ACTACT100% renewable electricity by 202040% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 by 2020
50-60% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 by 2025
65-75% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 by 2030
90-95% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 by 2040
Net zero emissions by 2045
NSWBroken Hill Council100% renewable energy status by 2030
NSWBlacktown City CouncilNet-zero GHG emissions from electricity, fuel and gas by 2030
NSWBlue Mountains City CouncilCarbon neutral by 2025
NSWByron Bay Council100% renewable energy by 2027Net zero by 2025
NSWCity of Newcastle100% renewable electricity from 2020
NSWCoffs Harbour City Council100% renewable energy by 2030
NSWEurobodalla Shire Council100% renewable energy by 2030
NSWInner West Council100% renewable electricity by 2025Carbon neutral by 2025
100% divestment from fossil fuel
NSWKu-ring-gai CouncilReduce greenhouse gas emissions to achieve net zero emissions by 2045 or earlier
NSWKyogle Council25% electricity from on-site solar by 2025
50% renewable electricity by 2025
100% renewable electricity by 2030
NSWLismore City CouncilSelf-generate all electricity needs from renewable sources by 2023
NSWNambucca CouncilZero net carbon emissions within the 2030 to 2050 time frame
NSWParramatta CouncilCarbon neutral by 2022
NSWPort Macquarie-Hastings Council100% renewable energy by 2027
NSWRandwick Council100% renewable by 2030 for stationary and transport energyZero emissions by 2030
NSWShoalhaven City Council25% renewables by 2023 and 50% by 2030Net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.
Reduce emissions by 25% by 2025 and 50% by 2030, compared to 2015 levels.
NSWSydney100% renewable energy for council operations by 2021Carbon neutral from 2008
NSWTweed Shire Council50% renewable energy by 2025
NSWWilloughby City CouncilBy 2028 emit 50% less GHG emissions from operations compared with 2008/09
Achieve net zero emissions by 2050
QLDBrisbane City CouncilCarbon neutral since 2017
QLDGold Coast City CouncilCarbon neutral by 2020
QLDLogan CouncilCarbon neutral by 2022
QLDNoosa CouncilNet zero emissions by 2026
QLDSunshine Coast CouncilNet zero emissions by 2041
SAAdelaide Hills CouncilAspiration to reach 100% renewable energyAspiration to reach carbon neutrality
VICCity of Ballarat Council100% renewables by 2025Zero emissions by 2025
VICCity of Greater Bendigo100% renewable energy by 2036
VICCity of Greater GeelongZero carbon council by 2050
VICCity of Port PhillipZero net emissions by 2020
VICCity of Yarra100% renewable electricity since 2019Carbon neutral since 2012
VICHepburn CouncilCarbon neutral by 2021
VICHobsons BayReach zero net GHG emissions from council's activities by 2020
VICGlen EiraNet zero emissions from operations by 2030
VICManningham100% carbon neutral by 2020
VICMelbourne100% renewable energy from 2019Carbon neutral by 2020
VICMoreland Council100% renewable energy by 2019Carbon neutral for operations since 2012
VICMornington Peninsula CouncilCarbon neutral by 2021
VICWyndhamCarbon neutral for corporate GHG emissions by 2040
WACity of BayswaterCorporate renewable energy target of 100% by 2030Corporate GHG emissions reduction target of 100% by 2040
WACity of Fremantle100% renewable energy by 2025Carbon neutral since 2009
WAMandurahCarbon neutral by 2020


 

100% Renewables is proud to have developed many of the renewable energy strategies and plans for councils that have committed to ambitious targets. We are also involved with many other councils that are delivering on their targets, including:

  • Broken Hill Council
  • Blue Mountains City Council
  • Coffs Harbour City Council
  • Inner West Council
  • Kyogle Council
  • Lismore City Council
  • Nambucca Shire Council
  • Port Macquarie-Hastings Council
  • City of Parramatta Council
  • Randwick City Council
  • Tweed Shire Council
  • Willoughby City Council

 

Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by NSW councils and the ACT Government

Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by VIC councils

Figure 3: Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by local governments in VIC as at Oct 19

Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by QLD councils

Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by local governments in Queensland as at Oct 19
Figure 4: Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by local governments in Queensland as at Oct 19

Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by SA councils

Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by local governments in South Australia as at Oct 19
Figure 5: Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by local governments in South Australia as at Oct 19

Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by WA councils

Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by local governments in Western Australia as at Oct 19
Figure 6: Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by local governments in Western Australia as at Oct 19

Community climate change commitments

Until recently, most local governments focused on their own operations by developing targets and actions plans. With the increasing need to rapidly reduce carbon emissions to combat climate change, more and more councils are now looking at how they can lead and facilitate carbon mitigation in their communities.

The following table shows renewable energy and carbon commitments made by local governments on behalf of their community.

 

STATE OR TERRITORYCOMMUNITYRENEWABLE ENERGY COMMITMENTCARBON COMMITMENT
NSWByron Bay CommunityNet zero by 2025
NSWHawkesbury City CouncilCarbon neutral LGA by 2036
NSWInner West Council100% of schools have installed solar by 2036
Solar PV capacity is 20 times greater than in 2017 by 2036
Community emissions are 75% less than in 2017 in 2036
NSWLockhartPlan for town to be powered by renewable energy and operating on a microgrid
NSWMullumbimby100% renewable energy by 2020
NSWSydneyReduce emissions by 70% for the LGA by 2030
Net zero emissions for the LGA by 2050
NSWTyalgum VillagePlan to be off the grid
100% renewable energy, with batteries
NSWUralla TownPlan to be first zero net energy town
NSWWilloughby City CouncilBy 2028, our community will emit 30% less GHG emissions compared with 2010/11
VICCity of DarebinZero net carbon emissions across Darebin by 2020
VICHealesvilleNet zero town by 2027
VICHobsons BayReach zero net GHG emissions from the community’s activities by 2030
VICGlen EiraNet zero emissions from the community by 2050
VICMelbourneNet zero emissions by 2050
VICMoreland CouncilZero carbon emissions Moreland by 2040
VICNatimuk100% renewable energy with community solar farm
VICNewstead VillagePlan to be 100% renewable
VICWarrnambool CouncilCarbon neutral city by 2040
VICWyndhamZero net GHG emissions from electricity use in the municipality by 2040
VICYackandandah Town100% renewable energy by 2022
WACity of FremantleZero carbon for LGA by 2025
WAPerth32% reduction in citywide emissions by 2031

 

At this stage, only the NSW graphic has been split into council operations’ and communities’ commitments. For other states, please refer to the maps in the previous section.

Ambitious renewable energy and carbon commitments by NSW communities

Local governments in Australia that have declared a climate emergency

Local governments are playing a key role in leading the climate emergency response, which is why CEDAMIA (derived from Climate Emergency Declaration and Mobilisation In Action) campaigns for a Climate Emergency Declaration at all levels of government.

CEDAMIA calls on all Australian federal, state, and territory parliaments and all local councils to:

  • Declare a climate emergency
  • Commit to providing maximum protection for all people, economies, species, ecosystems, and Civilisations, and to fully restoring a safe climate
  • Mobilise the required resources and take effective action at the necessary scale and speed
  • Transform the economy to zero emissions and make a fair contribution to drawing down the excess carbon dioxide in the air, and
  • Encourage all other governments around the world to take these same actions.

CEDAMIA works in conjunction in conjunction with CACE – Council Action in the Climate Emergency. Step 1 is to declare a climate emergency, and step 2 is to mobilise your community and move into emergency mode. According to CACE, a local government’s key role is to

  • Lobby state and national governments to adopt and fund full climate emergency response
  • Encourage other councils to implement a climate emergency response through networks and by leading by example
  • Have local emergency action through education, mitigation and resilience building
  • Educating council staff about the climate emergency and what council can do to respond

For a great example of a climate emergency plan, download the Climate Emergency Darebin Strategic Plan.

The following local governments have declared a climate emergency:

STATELOCAL GOVERNMENT
ACTAustralian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly
NSWBega Valley Shire Council
NSWBellingen Shire Council
NSWBlue Mountains City Council
NSWBroken Hill City Council
NSWByron Shire Council
NSWCanada Bay City Council
NSWCanterbury Bankstown City Council
NSWCentral Coast Council
NSWClarence Valley Council
NSWGlen Innes Severn Shire Council
NSWHawkesbury City Council
NSWInner West Council
NSWLane Cove Council
NSWLismore City Council
NSWNewcastle City Council
NSWNorth Sydney Council
NSWNorthern Beaches Council
NSWRandwick City Council
NSWRyde City Council
NSWSydney City Council
NSWTweed Shire Council
NSWUpper Hunter Shire Council
NSWWollongong City Council
NSWWoollahra Municipal Council
NTDarwin City Council
QLDNoosa Shire Council
SAAdelaide City Council
SAAdelaide Hills Council
SABurnside City Council
SAGawler Town Council
SALight Regional Council
SAParliament of South Australia Upper House
SAPort Adelaide Enfield City Council
SAPort Lincoln City Council
TASHobart City Council
TASKingborough Council
TASLaunceston City Council
VICBallarat City Council
VICBanyule City Council
VICBass Coast Shire Council
VICBrimbank City Council
VICCardinia Shire Council
VICDarebin City Council
VICHepburn Shire Council
VICHobsons Bay City Council
VICIndigo Shire Council
VICMaribyrnong City Council
VICMelbourne City Council
VICMoonee Valley City Council
VICMoreland City Council
VICMornington Peninsula Shire Council
VICPort Phillip City Council
VICSurf Coast Shire Council
VICWarrnambool City Council
VICYarra City Council
VICYarra Ranges Council
WAAugusta-Margaret River Shire Council
WADenmark Shire Council
WAFremantle City Council
WASwan City Council
WATown of Victoria Park
WAVincent City Council


Local Governments that are members of Cities Power Partnership

The Cities Power Partnership (CPP) is Australia’s largest local government climate network, made up over 113 councils from across the country, representing almost 11 million Australians. Local councils who join the partnership make five action pledges in either renewable energy, efficiency, transport or working in partnership to tackle climate change.

There are dozens of actions that councils can choose from ranging from putting solar on council assets, switching to electric vehicles, to opening up old landfills for new solar farms. The following table shows current local government members of CPP.

 

STATELOCAL GOVERNMENT
ACTCanberra
NSWAlbury City Council
NSWBathurst Regional Council
NSWBayside Council
NSWBega Valley Shire
NSWBellingen Shire Council
NSWBlacktown City Council
NSWBlue Mountains City Council
NSWBroken Hill City Council
NSWByron Shire Council
NSWCity of Canterbury-Bankstown
NSWCentral Coast Council
NSWCoffs Harbour
NSWCumberland Council
NSWEurobodalla Council
NSWGeorges River Council
NSWHawkesbury City Council
NSWHornsby Shire Council
NSWInner West Council
NSWKiama Council
NSWKu-ring-gai Council
NSWLane Cove Council
NSWLismore City Council
NSWMosman Council
NSWMidCoast Council
NSWMuswellbrook Shire Council
NSWNambucca Shire Council
NSWThe City of Newcastle 
NSWNorthern Beaches Council
NSWNorth Sydney Council
NSWOrange City Council
NSWParkes Shire Council
NSWCity of Parramatta
NSWPenrith City Council
NSWPort Macquarie-Hastings
NSWRandwick City Council
NSWCity of Ryde
NSWShellharbour City Council 
NSWShoalhaven City Council
NSWCity of Sydney
NSWTweed Shire
NSWUpper Hunter Shire Council
NSWCity of Wagga Wagga
NSWWaverley Council
NSWWilloughby Council
NSWWingecarribee Shire
NSWWoollahra Municipal Council
QLDBrisbane City Council 
QLDBundaberg Regional Council
QLDCairns Regional Council
QLDDouglas Shire Council
QLDIpswich City Council 
QLDLivingstone Shire Council 
QLDLogan City Council
QLDMackay Regional Council
QLDNoosa Shire Council
QLDSunshine Coast Council
SAAdelaide Hills Council 
SACity of Adelaide
SAAlexandrina Council
SACity of Charles Sturt
SAGoyder Regional Council
SAKangaroo Island Council
SAMount Barker District Council 
SACity of Onkaparinga
SACity of Victor Harbor
NTAlice Springs Town Council
NTCity of Darwin
WACity of Armadale
WAShire of Augusta-Margaret River
WATown of Bassendean
WACity of Bayswater
WACity of Belmont
WACity of Bunbury
WACity of Busselton
WACity of Canning
WACity of Cockburn
WAShire of Donnybrook-Balingup
WACity of Fremantle
WACity of Gosnells
WACity of Kalgoorlie-Boulder
WACity of Kwinana
WACity of Melville
WAShire of Mundaring
WAShire of Northam 
WACity of Rockingham
WAShire of Serpentine Jarrahdale
WACity of Swan
WATown of Victoria Park 
VICCity of Ballarat
VICBenalla Rural City Council 
VICCity of Boroondara
VICCity of Casey
VICCity of Darebin
VICCity of Greater Dandenong
VICHepburn Shire Council
VICMildura Rural City Council
VICCity of Monash
VICMoreland City Council
VICMornington Peninsula Shire
VICMount Alexander Shire Council 
VICCity of Port Phillip
VICStrathbogie Shire Council
VICStonnington City Council
VICRural City of Wangaratta
VICWarrnambool City Council
VICWyndham City Council
VICCity of Yarra
VICYarra Ranges Council 
TASBrighton Council
TASNorthern Midlands Council
TASHuon Valley Council
TASGlamorgan Spring Bay

Local Governments that are members of Global Covenant of Mayors

Global Covenant of Mayors or GCoM is the largest global alliance for city climate leadership. GCoM is built upon the commitment of over 10,000 cities and local governments across 6 continents and 139 countries. In total, these cities represent more than 800 million people. By 2030, Global Covenant cities and local governments could collectively reduce 1.3 billion tons of CO2 emissions per year.

In Australia, 26 councils are members of GCoM. To join the GCoM, you need to develop citywide knowledge, goals, and plans that aim at least as high as your country’s own climate protection commitment(s) or Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Climate Agreement.

As a partner of the GCoM, you need to undertake the following:

 

STATELOCAL GOVERNMENT
ACTAustralian Capital Territory (Canberra) 
NSWByron Shire
NSWNewcastle
NSWPenrith
NSWSydney
NSWTweed Shire 
NSWWollongong 
SAAdelaide
SAMount Barker
TASHobart Australia
VICDarebin City Council
VICGlen Eira 
VICHobsons Bay City Council 
VICManningham 
VICMaribyrnong 
VICMelbourne 
VICMelton
VICMoreland 
VICMornington Peninsula Shire 
VICPort Phillip 
VICWyndham City Council
VICYarra 
WAJoondalup 
WAMandurah 
WAMelville 
WAPerth

Local Governments that are members of C40

C40 is a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change. C40 supports cities to collaborate effectively, share knowledge and drive meaningful, measurable and sustainable action on climate change. In Australia, Melbourne and Sydney are members.

If you need help with your own target or plan

100% Renewables are experts in helping local governments and communities develop renewable energy and carbon targets and strategies. If you need help with developing a target and plan that takes your unique situation into consideration, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Any changes?

Please let us know if there are any commitments that are missing, or if any commitment needs a correction.

Please share

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

You are also welcome to contact us for a copy of these graphics.

Setting targets for community emissions – Part 5



This is part 5 of our blog post series on community emissions. The first four articles investigated the development of a community GHG inventory. This article analyses community targets for greenhouse gas emissions.

What is greenhouse gas emissions community target?

A target for a city or community relates to a desired future GHG emissions result for a local government administration boundary.

Introduction

Humans and communities are at the centre of climate change. Reducing emissions is a shared responsibility of governments, businesses and of cities and communities. Moreover, in the absence of strong national leadership, local governments need to step in and act. Setting targets enables efforts to be directed towards achieving that target, rather than letting emissions grow unchecked.

However, setting an appropriate target can be confusing. What percentage reduction should you choose? What target year shall you select? Should the target revolve around renewables or carbon emissions, or should you instead focus on tangible measures like solar PV installations in your community?

What targets are in line with science? What target will get accepted by the community? What kind of targets are other cities and communities setting themselves? Should the local government drive the target setting or shall efforts be community-driven?

Before we try to answer these questions, let’s have a look at the underlying problem first.

Rising carbon emissions and the Paris Agreement

Due to all historical and current carbon emissions, global temperatures have already increased by ~1°C from pre-industrial levels, with even higher increases being experienced on land. Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have risen to above 400 ppm, which exceeds the ‘safe’ level of 350 ppm. Moreover, the IPCC predicts that without additional efforts, there will be further growth in emissions due to increased economic activity and population growth.

The main driver of long-term warming is the total cumulative emissions of greenhouse gases over time. As shown by Climate Action Tracker in Figure 1, without additional efforts, human-caused carbon emissions may increase to over 100 billion tonnes annually by 2100, which is double current global emissions. The resulting increase in global temperatures could be up to 4.8°C (as per the IPCC Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report).

However, with current climate policies around the world, global temperatures are projected to rise by about 3.2°C.

To prevent dangerous climate change by limiting global warming, close to 200 of the world’s governments signed the landmark Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement forms the basis of science-based targets to limit global temperature increase to well below 2°C by 2050. With current pledges, and if all countries achieved their Paris Agreement targets, it could limit warming to 2.9°C.

The Climate Action Tracker’s warming projections for 2100, various policy scenarios
Figure 1: The Climate Action Tracker’s warming projections for 2100, various policy scenarios

However, to limit warming to well below 2°C, let alone 1.5°C, current Paris pledges made by countries are not enough[1]. Carbon emissions need to decline at a much steeper rate in the near future and reach net-zero by mid-century to have a 50% chance of keeping warming below 1.5°C.

Achieving net-zero by 2038 improves this chance to two thirds, but global emissions would have to fall by up to 70% relative to 2017 levels by 2030. For every year of failed action, the window to net-zero is reduced by two years[2].

So how many greenhouse gases can still be emitted? This concept is encapsulated in the term ‘carbon budget’.

What is a carbon budget?

Just like a financial budget sets a ceiling on how much money can be spent, a carbon budget is a finite amount of carbon that can be emitted into the atmosphere before warming will exceed certain temperature thresholds.

The concept of a carbon budget emerged as a scientific concept from the IPCC’s 2014 Synthesis Report on Climate Change and relates to the cumulative amount of carbon emissions permitted over a period. Given that the carbon budget is not annual, but cumulative, it means that once it is spent, carbon emissions have to be held at net zero to avoid exceeding temperature targets.

Higher emissions in earlier years mean that there can only be lower emissions later on. You can compare this concept to your own budget. If your yearly budget was $120,000, and you spent $30,000 in each of January and February, you would only have $60,000 left to spend between March and December, or $6,000 per month. Conversely, if you are careful with what you buy and only spend $5,000 every month, then your budget will last twice as long (2 years).

The carbon budget for limiting warming to 1.5°C is smaller than the carbon budget for limiting warming to 2°C.

Please have a look at the following two carbon budgets we developed for a local government client. The ‘blue budget’ shows a 2°C pathway, whereas the ‘orange budget’ shows a 1.5°C scenario.

Example of 2°C carbon budget

Example of a 2°C carbon budget
Figure 2: Example of a 2°C carbon budget for a community greenhouse gas emissions target

Example of 1.5°C carbon budget

Example of a 1.5°C carbon budget
Figure 3: Example of a 1.5°C carbon budget for a community greenhouse gas emissions target

The area of the carbon budget is much smaller in the ‘orange’ graphic. And while both carbon budgets trend towards net zero in 2050, there are much steeper reductions earlier on in the 1.5°C scenario.

How can you set a target/carbon budget based on science?

Targets are considered science-based if they are in line with the level of decarbonisation required to keep global average temperature increase well below 2°C compared to pre-industrial temperatures, as described in the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC. All science-based target setting methods use an underlying carbon budget.

There is no universally accepted method of how to calculate carbon budgets at the city level and many cities have worked hard at developing a fair carbon budget. As per the C40 Deadline 2020 report, the three principles that dominate the debate on the allocation of carbon budgets are:

  1. Equality, based on an understanding that human beings should have equal rights
  2. Responsibility for contributing to climate change, linked to the ‘polluter pays’ principle
  3. Capacity to contribute to solving the problem (also described as capacity to pay).

Specific considerations include the current global carbon budget[3], adjusting it to an appropriate time frame, adjusting it from carbon dioxide to carbon dioxide equivalents, and then deriving a fair and equitable national budget. Once there is a national budget, it needs to be apportioned fairly to the city by using factors such as population and potentially adjusting it based on the sector representation in the community.

A simpler method to arrive at a carbon budget that is tracking towards net-zero is to follow a science-based target-setting method by adopting a target which is proportional to the overall world’s target using the contraction approach and to scale emissions down linearly. There are two science-based temperature scenarios you can align with, a 2°C and a 1.5°C scenario. The minimum annual linear reduction rates aligned with 1.5°C and 2°C scenarios are 4.2% and 2.5%, respectively.

Example method for calculating your science-based target

The following method, which you can use as an example, shows six steps on how to set a community emissions target based on science.

Step 1: Calculate your GHG inventory

Your carbon inventory should be aligned to GPC. Please read our article on calculating community carbon footprints if you are unsure about this step.

Step 2: Project emissions

Once you have a fully developed carbon inventory, project your emissions into the future to get an idea of where your emissions will be in the absence of any abatement measures

Step 3: Decide on carbon budget allocation method

Choose an approach that is suitable for your circumstances. The simplest method is to contract to net-zero by 2050.

Step 4: Choose a pathway

You need to choose whether you want your emissions trajectory to align with a 1.5°C or a 2°C scenario.

Step 5: Choose a target year

While you are aiming to track towards net zero by mid-century, it will help to establish interim targets, based on your chosen degree scenario.

Step 6: Validate your decisions

Consult your community to get feedback.

Six steps to set a science-based community emissions target
Figure 4: Six steps to set a science-based community emissions target

What kind of targets are there?

There are two main categories of targets, top-down and bottom-up ones.

Top-down targets

With top-down goals, you set the goal first, and then determine actions to get there. Top-down targets can be informed by science (‘science-based targets’) or by a community’s aspirations. Each of these approaches effectively gives the community a carbon budget to stay within for any chosen pathway.

Externally set top-down target – science-based:

An external top-down target is informed by science. Science-based targets are aligned with either a 2°C or 1.5°C pathway and lead to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Internally set top-down target – aspirational:

Aspirational targets express the vision of a community and where it would like to be in future. They often relate to a target year earlier than 2050.

Bottom-up targets

With bottom-up targets, you analyse the carbon footprint first and then develop abatement actions. Carbon reduction actions are modelled to investigate the amount of carbon reduction that can be achieved and the cost to facilitate and fund them. Based on the level of carbon reduction that is feasible, you set a corresponding target.

Top-down and bottom-up targets can work in tandem. For instance, you can decide to set a science-based target, and then translate this target into tangible, staged and evidence-based bottom-up targets. Examples of such tangible targets are the number of solar PV installations on houses, or the rate and amount of electric vehicle take-up in a community.

Who sets a community target?

Targets can come directly from the community, or they can be driven by the local government authority. If they are driven by the local government, it is a good idea to undertake community consultation, present the facts and then get feedback on the proposed target(s).

What does a net-zero target mean?

A net-zero target means that by (and from) the target date, there must be no greenhouse gas emissions on a net basis. Within the geographic boundaries of a city, a ‘net zero city’ is defined as:

  1. Net-zero GHG emissions from stationary energy consumption such as natural gas use (scope 1)
  2. Net-zero GHG emissions from transport activities (scope 1)
  3. Net-zero GHG emissions from electricity consumption (scope 2)
  4. Net-zero GHG emissions from the treatment of waste generated within the city boundary (scopes 1 and 3)
  5. Where a city accounts for additional sectoral emissions in their GHG accounting boundary (e.g. IPPU, AFOLU), net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from all additional sectors in the GHG accounting boundary

Table 1: Definition of a net-zero target for a city

Definition of a net-zero target for a city

Once you have achieved carbon neutrality, it needs to be maintained year after year. For further information, please refer to the C40 paper, ‘Defining Carbon Neutrality For Cities And Managing Residual Emissions’.

Using carbon offsets to reach net-zero

Even after you have reduced your emissions as much as possible, there may be a residual carbon footprint. It may not be technically or economically possible to achieve zero emissions for all inventory sources, in which case you can consider carbon offsets.

As per the C40 paper Defining Carbon Neutrality for Cities, possible approaches for carbon offsets you can consider include:

  1. Developing carbon offset projects outside of the city GHG accounting boundary (including local/regional projects that may or may not generate tradeable carbon credits) and taking responsibility for managing the project for the duration of its lifetime;
  2. Investing in carbon offset projects outside of the city GHG accounting boundary (e.g. provide funding to enable a project to get underway or commit to purchasing a set quantity of future vintages, thereby providing upfront funding for credit registration costs), and
  3. Purchasing carbon offsets from outside of the city GHG accounting boundary (local, national, or globally-sourced projects that generate tradeable carbon credits) from a registered/credible/established carbon credit provider.

As with any carbon offset purchase, your carbon credits should be credible and of high quality. Criteria that your carbon offset projects should achieve are that they are real, additional, permanent, measurable, independently audited and verified, unambiguously owned and transparent.

Using Carbon Dioxide Removal and Negative Emissions Technology to reach net-zero

Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) means that you are removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in addition to what would happen anyway via the natural carbon cycle. Because you are removing carbon emissions, this is also called ‘negative emissions’, or ‘negative emissions technology’ (NET).

You can draw out excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by enhancing natural carbon sinks (trees and soil) or using chemical processes, such as extracting carbon dioxide from the air and storing it somewhere suitable (e.g., underground).

Negative Emission Technology (NET) is at various stages of commercial development and differs in terms of maturity, scalability, costs, risks, and trade-offs. To date, none of these technologies has been adopted at large scale.

As a side note, in IPCC modelling, all pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C include CDR measures. If we cannot reduce emissions fast enough, global temperatures will overshoot 1.5°C, which means that we need NET to bring global temperatures back down.

A city that plans on utilising NET is Oslo. The single biggest carbon reduction measure in Oslo’s Climate and Energy Strategy is the implementation of carbon capture and storage (CCS) at its Klemetsrud waste incineration facility.

Target setting under the Global Covenant of Mayors and C40

Target setting under the Global Covenant

The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM) is the world’s largest alliance of cities and local governments with a shared long-term vision of promoting and supporting voluntary action to combat climate change and move to a low emission, climate-resilient future. As of October 2019, 26 local governments in Australia have joined the GCoM.

Through the GCoM, cities and local governments are voluntarily committing to fight climate change, mirroring the commitments their national governments have set to ensure the goals of the Paris Agreement are met.

Local governments committed to GCoM pledge to implement policies and undertake measures to:

  • Reduce/limit greenhouse gas emissions
  • Prepare for the impacts of climate change
  • Increase access to sustainable energy
  • Track progress toward these objectives

When you join the Global Covenant of Mayors, you need to submit a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target(s) within two years upon joining. The target boundary needs to be consistent with all emissions sources included in your GHG emissions inventory. The target year needs to be the same (or later than) the target year adopted nationally under the Paris Agreement. The national target is called the ‘Nationally Determined Contribution’ (NDC).

If you set a target beyond 2030, you also need to set an interim target. The target needs to be at least as ambitious as the unconditional components of the NDC. You are only allowed to use carbon offsets if your target’s ambition exceeds the NDC.

Target setting under C40

C40 is a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change. Cities that commit to being part of C40 need to have a plan to deliver their contribution towards the goal of constraining global temperature rise to no more than 1.5°C. In Australia, Sydney and Melbourne are members.

To remain within a 1.5°C temperature rise, average per capita emissions across C40 cities need to drop from over 5 t CO2-e per capita to around 2.9 t CO2-e per capita by 2030. Every city needs to diverge considerably from its current business-as-usual pathway and cities with a GDP over USD15,000 per capita must begin to reduce their per capita emissions immediately, which results in an immediate and steep decline of emissions.

C40 recommends that the trajectory for emission reduction follows the typology as introduced in Deadline 2020.

  • Steep Decline – Cities with a GDP per capita over $15,000 and emissions above the average for C40. Emissions need to be immediately and rapidly reduced and the city is sufficiently developed to do so.
  • Steady Decline – Cities with a GDP per capita over $15,000 but emissions lower than the average for C40. The city is sufficiently developed to immediately reduce emissions, but a less rapid rate of reduction is required than for the Steep Decline group.
  • Early Peak – Cities with GDP per capita below $15,000 and higher than average emissions per capita. An early emissions peak is required, although the city’s development status means that decline cannot be immediate.
  • Late Peak – Cities with a GDP per capita below $15,000 and lower than average emissions per capita. A slightly later emissions peak is possible.

The following table shows the current and reduced science-aligned and C40 per capita emissions for scopes 1, 2 and 3.

Table 2: Average per capita emissions figures for C40 cities in 1.5- and 2-degree trajectories

Average per capita emissions figures for C40 cities in 1.5- and 2-degree trajectories

Examples of city targets

The following list shows examples of ambitious targets for cities across five continents.

EThekwini Municipality, Africa

The eThekwini municipality includes the city of Durban, South Africa and surrounding towns. It is the first city in Africa to develop a 1.5°C climate action plan with the support of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. The target is to reach a 40% reduction in emissions by 2030 and 80% reduction by 2050.

Hong Kong, Asia

In May 2019, Hong Kong achieved CDP’s top ‘A’ score for its climate strategy, among 7% of cities reporting to the CDP. Hong Kong’s targets are as follows:

  • Reduce carbon intensity by 65% to 70% by 2030 compared with the 2005 level, which is equivalent to an absolute reduction of 26% to 36%
  • Resulting in per capita emission of 3.3 to 3.8 tonnes in 2030
  • Carbon emissions to peak before 2020

The 2030 Climate Plan includes objectives, such as phasing down coal for electricity generation and replacing it with natural gas by 2030, saving energy in the built environment, focusing on rail as a low-carbon public transport backbone and encouraging active transport modes, such as walking.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Australia

The ACT is a federal territory of Australia containing the Australian capital city of Canberra and some surrounding townships. The ACT’s first targets were introduced in 2010, revised in 2016 to increase ambition and again in 2018. The current targets are to reduce emissions (from 1990 levels) by:

  • 40% by 2020
  • 50-60% by 2025
  • 65-75% by 2030
  • 90-95% by 2040
  • 100% (net zero emissions) by 2045.

The ACT also set a target to peak emissions per capita by 2013. This was achieved in 2012-13 at 10.53 tonnes of CO2-e per person and has remained below this level ever since. In 2017-18, emissions were 8.09 t CO2-e per capita. The ACT’s targets were informed by considering the ACT’s share of the global carbon budget.

Oslo, Europe

Oslo has the objective to become a ‘virtually zero-emission city’. The current targets are as follows:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions should not exceed 766,000 tons of CO2-e by 2020 (applicable to all emission sectors except agriculture, aviation and shipping)
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 95% by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels)

The second goal depends on the successful removal of emissions from a major waste incineration plant.

In 2016, Oslo introduced a climate budget, which sets a ceiling on the volume of carbon dioxide that can be emitted in the city in a given year. The climate budget is fully integrated with the financial budget of the city. The climate budgets show measures implemented or planned for Oslo to reach its climate targets and become a low-carbon city.

San Francisco, North America

In its Focus 2030: A Pathway to Net Zero Emissions, San Francisco defines the following targets:

  • Supplying 100% renewable electricity from 2030
  • 68% reduction in emissions below 1990 levels by 2030
  • 90% reduction by 2050

San Francisco identified that emission reduction must come from three primary sectors, being buildings, transportation and waste. The city also defined sub-targets for these sectors.

Transportation:

  • Shift 80% of all trips taken to walking, biking and transit by 2030.
  • Electrify 25% of private cars and trucks by 2030 and 100% by 2040.

Buildings:

  • Electrify space and water heating with high-efficiency products such as heat pumps
  • Increase building energy efficiency
  • Power buildings with 100% renewable electricity

Waste:

  • Reduce generation by 15% by 2030
  • Reduce disposal to landfill or incineration by 50% by 2030

Conclusion

Cities and communities should consider setting themselves targets in line with science. To avoid catastrophic climate change, emissions need to start falling now and reach net zero by 2050. Interim targets will help to stay under an allocated carbon budget.

Both vision and leadership are needed to enable steep cuts to our emissions, which translates into unprecedented, rapid change across the globe to limit global warming. The way electricity is generated needs to change to clean energy. The way we transport people and goods and the way we produce everything needs innovation. Land use planning plays a big part, and different economic models need to be adopted that will makes such a transformational shift possible. In the next part of this series, we will look at community carbon abatement measures in greater detail.

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations, communities/LGAs and councils determine suitable targets, be they science-based, aspirational or bottom-up/action-based. Our community inventories align with the GPC and targets can be based on IPCC global carbon budgets. If you need help with your community inventory, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Footnotes

[1] For instance, Australia’s commitment under the Paris Agreement is 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030

[2] https://www.c40.org/researches/defining-carbon-neutrality-for-cities-managing-residual-emissions

[3] The Global Carbon Budget website provides annual updates of the global carbon budget and trends.

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