All posts by Patrick Denvir

Tweed Shire Council’s REAP ramps up

100% Renewables has helped many organisations to set ambitious renewable energy and carbon reduction goals and developed the strategies and action plans that will help them get there. While this is one key metric for our business, a greater measure of success is when we see clients implement projects that will take them towards their targets. In this blog post, we provide an update on the multi-site solar PV projects being rolled out by Tweed Shire Council.

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Tweed Shire Council’s climate change targets and plan

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.

Tweed Shire Council’s solar journey

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.

Tweed Regional Aquatic Centre (TRAC) - Murwillumbah
Figure 1: Tweed Regional Aquatic Centre (TRAC) – Murwillumbah, Tweed Shire Council

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.

Bray Park Water Treatment Plant, Tweed Shire Council
Figure 2: Bray Park Water Treatment Plant, Tweed Shire Council

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.

Challenges of rolling out the solar program

Implementation of Council’s solar rollout program has not been without its challenges. Most projects have to overcome barriers during planning, implementation and post-installation phases and Tweed Shire Council’s program is no exception.

Roof structural assessment outcomes, electrical connections, system performance and yield, retrofitting monitoring systems and linking into Council’s own IT systems have created challenges for Council’s staff and contractors to assess and overcome and provide ongoing lessons in the issues and solutions that will inform future solar projects.

The success of the solar program

Perhaps the biggest factor underpinning the success and speed of Council’s solar rollout in the last year has been the investment Council has made in bringing skilled staff together to implement the program. With overall coordination of the REAP, experienced senior engineering staff planning and coordinating the solar implementation works, and experienced energy management and measurement and verification staff tracking and optimising the performance of installed systems, Tweed Shire Council is supporting its REAP program with the resources needed to ensure success.

Progressing towards its renewable energy target

In parallel with the solar rollout, Council is also progressing a number of other projects that will see it get closer to its targets, including building lighting, renewable energy power purchasing, and selected air conditioning upgrades. Planned roof upgrades will also support future solar PV systems.

Tweed Shire Council is one among many leading councils showing that achieving ambitious renewable energy and carbon reduction goals is both feasible and cost-effective.

100% Renewables is proud to have played a role in helping this leader through the development of their Renewable Energy Strategy. We look forward to Tweed Shire Council’s continued success in reaching its renewable energy targets in coming years.

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.

Clear the Air BCSD Australia Summit

Last Tuesday 11th February 2020, 100% Renewables attended the Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) Australia’s Clear the Air Australian Climate Action Summit, held at Parliament House in Canberra. The event was hosted in partnership with the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University (ANU), and was an opportunity to take stock of where we are as a country and within major sectors of the economy in terms of our response to the challenges of climate change.

Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) Australia’s Clear the Air Australian Climate Action Summit, held at Parliament House in Canberra
Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) Australia’s Clear the Air Australian Climate Action Summit held at Parliament House in Canberra

Some of the key take-outs we took from the 1-day conference were:

  • IKEA’s Australia / New Zealand CEO Jan Gardberg, is also the company’s Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO), highlighting that sustainability is central to business success. Jan noted “it’s a win win win to go all in on sustainability”, and IKEA’s rapid progress towards a circular business by 2030 is evidence of the company’s leadership and commitment. IKEA’s plans to launch home solar and battery storage at their stores during 2020 will also help their customers to accelerate their shift to a more sustainable society.
  • “Switch to renewable energy”, “electrify everything” remain two of the key and achievable ‘pillars’ in the deep decarbonisation of the Australian economy by mid-century, as highlighted by a panel including ClimateWorks Australia’s CEO Anna Skarbek and ANU’s Professor Frank Jotzo. Even under a no-policy scenario most of Australia’s power will come from renewables within a couple of decades. Electrification of heat and transport are challenging but developing rapidly.
  • Energy efficiency and energy productivity represent ongoing challenges, despite the fact that these measures can deliver a large chunk of Australia’s required decarbonisation at negative cost! Despite huge steps made by the commercial building sector, significant challenges remain to improve the efficiency of our residential building stock – both existing buildings and new construction, as highlighted by Luke Menzel, CEO of the Energy Efficiency Council. In the manufacturing sector, the Australian Alliance to Save Energy’s Jon Jutsen highlighted the fact that just 15% of energy generated actually performs useful work and services, and the A2SE’s goal to double our energy productivity by 2030 would have huge benefits for manufacturing and other sectors.
  • Lastly, the ACT’s Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury spoke of the Territory’s continuing work to decarbonise the ACT, having achieved their target to be 100% renewables for electricity. The Minister noted that in committing to source electric vehicles (EVs) for new ACT Government fleet, the simple step of increasing their lease terms from three to four years was key in making the business case stack up. The ACT is already seeing huge drops in operating costs for EVs. The Minister also highlighted the ‘ambassadorial effect’ of EVs, where their use across the ACT often generates discussion between users and the public.

An overarching message is that accelerated action on climate change needs to be the new business-as-usual and already is for some businesses, many of the solutions are already viable and others are rapidly emerging, and most importantly leadership is critical to success. And don’t forget energy efficiency and productivity, which will boost your bottom line.

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their renewable energy strategies and timing actions appropriately. If you need help with developing emission scenarios that take into account policy settings, 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.