All posts by Rasheem Saini

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

100% Renewables would like to congratulate the City of Canada Bay Council, who has committed to net-zero emissions, on winning the Local Government NSW’s (LGNSW) Excellence in the Environment Awards’ Local Sustainability Award.

100% Renewables is proud to have developed two studies which informed the City’s Emissions Reduction Action Plan (ERP), specifically:

  1. Emissions pathway study – Council operations
  2. Emissions pathway study – Community

How Council developed its Net-Zero Emissions Reduction Plan

Canada Bay Council tasked 100% Renewables with the development of two technical studies to understand how emissions can be reduced for both Council operations and the community.

The technical studies of the ERP drew on extensive analysis of Council’s emissions profile, population and urban density projections, renewable energy trends, stakeholder engagement, as well as an assessment and prioritisation of savings opportunities.

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

Target-setting approach

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

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

The pathway to net-zero for Councils operations

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

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

The pathway to reducing Council’s corporate emissions to net-zero is illustrated in Figure 1.

Pathway to net zero by 2030 for Canada Bay Council’s operations
Figure 1: Pathway to net-zero by 2030 for Canada Bay Council’s operations

The pathway to net-zero for community emissions

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

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

These initiatives and programs were quantified and broken down into 33 discreet actions to reduce emissions to net-zero, as illustrated in Figure 2.

Pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050 for the Canada Bay community
Figure 2: Pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050 for the Canada Bay community

Canada Bay’s success in reducing carbon emissions

The City has a long history of emission reduction and climate change adaptation programs. Some of these initiatives are listed below:

  • Greenhouse Action Plan 2014, which highlighted 70 actions that Council could invest in to reduce emissions. The plan also suggested targets such as replacing traditional energy supply with alternative renewable sourced by 2020.
  • Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP) 2014 saw Council invest in major energy efficiency upgrades across four of Councils largest energy consuming sites. Collective outcomes after the completion of the CEEP saw energy use and carbon emissions decrease by almost 32%, and energy costs reduce by almost 25%.
  • Small sites LED upgrade saw LEDs replacing existing lighting across six sites resulting in a combined energy reduction of 20%.
  • Installation of 134 kW of solar PV at Concord Library, City Services Depot and the Civic Centre
  • Implementation of LED lighting at several sporting fields as part of refurbishment and new field activation works
  • In October 2018 Council committed to purchasing 20% of its total electricity consumption from the Moree Solar Farm for 11.5 years commencing 1 July 2019
  • Council is participating in the SSROC Residential Road Street Light LED Replacement Program in partnership with Ausgrid. The current spot replacement program will be augmented by an accelerated bulk upgrade program in the short term.
  • Offsetting of emissions from major Council events such as Ferragosto and Concord Carnival

In the Canada Bay community, there has also been a significant increase in emissions reduction by residents installing solar panels on houses and businesses. At the time of development of the ERP, less than 10% of dwellings in the Canada Bay LGA had solar installed, with the total capacity being 8,490 kW as of September 2019. A year later, the solar capacity had improved significantly to 12,321 kW, which is a 45% increase.

Canada Bay 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 Emissions Reduction Plan. We look forward to Canada Bay Council’s continued success in reaching its carbon and renewable energy targets in the coming years.

pdf-iconNet-Zero Case study “Canada Bay Council and Community – Emissions pathway
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100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their climate action strategies, and supporting the implementation and achievement of ambitious targets. If you need help to develop your Climate Action 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.

 

Case Study – Nambucca Valley Council REAP

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 how Nambucca Valley Council is progressing with implementing its Renewable Energy Action Plan (REAP).

Nambucca Valley Council

Located on the mid-north coast of NSW, Nambucca Valley Council is an excellent example of how resource-constrained councils can achieve ambitious renewable energy and emission reduction goals. The Nambucca Valley region has been demonstrating its commitment to sustainability, with more than 30% of residents and businesses having implemented solar PV and solar hot water on their buildings. In total there is around 10 MW of solar PV capacity installed across Nambucca Valley as of May 2020, according to the Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI).

Council had previously invested in several energy efficiency improvements, such as compact fluorescents for streetlights, smart controls for water & sewer system motors, and building lighting retrofits. For several years Council has been part of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s (DPIE) Sustainability Advantage (SA) Program.

Council’s pathway to develop a renewable energy plan

In 2017, Council’s 2027 Community Strategic Plan (CSP) was developed and adopted, which recommended that Council “provide community leadership in sustainable energy use”. In response to achieving the objectives of the CSP, Council established a Clean Energy Committee in August 2017. The committee recommended that Council formulate a Renewable Energy Action Plan, including a renewable energy target and an emissions reduction target, a recommendation which Council adopted in August 2018.

Alongside this, Council also joined the Cities Power Partnership (CPP) – a national program that brings together Australian towns and cities making the switch to clean energy. The key commitment highlighted here is that Council will take on a leadership position to help the community move towards a zero net carbon emissions future within the 2030 to 2050 timeframe.

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

What did the REAP recommend?

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

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

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

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

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

Exploration of funding sources for REAP

Alongside adoption of the REAP, Council engaged with  DPIE’s Sustainable Councils and Communities program (SCC) to ascertain the best way of financing the recommended actions of the Renewable Energy Action Plan.

We carried out an analysis of the eleven funding options against a range of Council’s criteria, and a Revolving Energy Fund (REF) was chosen to enable the REAP’s work program (outside water & sewer sites) to be implemented.

We developed a REF model showing how all projects could be implemented, with initial seed funding, to achieve a net positive cashflow every year. As part of another project funded via the SCC Program, we visited nearly 30 community facilities across the Nambucca Valley and developed business cases for solar PV and battery energy storage. These opportunities were also integrated into the REF.

How is Council progressing with the implementation of the REAP?

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

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

50 kW solar installation at Macksville Administration Office
Figure 1: 50 kW solar installation at Macksville Administration Office

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

Council’s progression to regional leader

As a regional Council in NSW, resources are often constrained, especially for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and carbon reduction projects. However, Council is well on its way to achieve the recommendations of its adopted REAP, and to assist the community to become more energy and carbon efficient through the

  • leadership shown by Council itself,
  • underpinned by the community’s voice calling for more sustainable energy,
  • assisted by DPIE’s Sustainability Advantage and Sustainable Councils and Communities programs, and
  • supported by regional counterparts and the Cities Power Partnership community.

Nambucca Valley 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 Action Plan, Revolving Energy Fund and project implementation. We look forward to Nambucca Valley Council’s continued success in reaching its carbon and renewable energy targets in coming years.

pdf-iconCase study “Nambucca Valley Council Renewable Energy Action Plan
Start Download

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.