100% Renewables undertook an investigation of how much regional councils spend on electricity, street lighting and fuels, on average. The results are that a typical rural council in NSW spends about $2.5m per year on electricity, $250,000 on street lighting electricity and roughly $1m on fuels like diesel and petrol.
By implementing energy efficiency measures like switching to LED lighting, upgrading to Variable Speed Drives, engaging staff, changing procedures, upgrading building envelopes or installing sub-metering, the average council can save about $0.5m per year.
Making street lighting more energy efficient can save the average council $125,000 per year, and this is just the energy saving. There may be additional savings in Street Lighting Use of System (SLUOS) charges. Through measures like smaller vehicles, car pooling and driver training, another $100,000 per year on fuel costs can be saved.
Installing solar PV behind-the-meter can reduce council’s electricity bill by about $250,000 per year. All reduction measures together are able to decrease energy spend by about 25%. ‘The average regional council in NSW can save about $1 million by implementing a long-term sustainable energy plan’, says Patrick Denvir, co-founder of 100% Renewables.
Some forward-thinking councils have already achieved amazing reductions in their energy bills and their carbon footprints, with some having decreased their consumption by 20%, to even 50% in some cases. While many councils have already embarked on a journey of energy efficiency and implementing renewables, more work can be done.
In our experience, the investment needed to achieve the 25% in savings is between $5m and $6m. Most likely, two-thirds of these savings can be achieved in the first 5 years of implementing a sustainable energy plan. The last third can be achieved over the longer term.
If you are a council that wants to unlock these savings and save your ratepayers $1m per year, come and talk to us at 100% Renewables. We are specialised in developing long-term energy efficiency and renewable energy plans and can provide advice about how you can access those savings. Call us at 1300 102 195.