Category Archives: Net zero

FAQs for becoming certified under Climate Active – Part 2

One of our service offers is helping our clients determine their Climate Active carbon footprint and obtain Climate Active certification from the Commonwealth Government. Over the last few months, we’ve received many calls of organisations wanting to find out more about Climate Active accreditation, which resulted in the publication of  Part 1 of this series.

In Part 2 of this series, we will discuss more details about scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and what emission sources typically form part of a Climate Active carbon footprint. In the final blog post of this series, we will go into more details about how to get certified under Climate Active.

What are scope 1, scope 2 and scope 3 emissions?

Scope 1 emissions are emissions directly generated at your operations, such as burning natural gas or driving company cars, or refrigerant gases in your air conditioning equipment.

Scope 2 emissions are caused indirectly by consuming electricity. These emissions are generated outside your organisation (think coal-fired power station), but you are indirectly responsible for them.

Scope 3 emissions are also indirect emissions and happen upstream and downstream of your business. Examples are waste, air travel, the consumption of goods and services, contractor emissions, or leased assets.

Emission sources and scopes – graphic adjusted from the Corporate Value Chain Accounting and Reporting Standard

Figure 1: Emission sources and scopes – graphic adjusted from the Corporate Value Chain Accounting and Reporting Standard

Scope 3 categories

According to the GHG Protocol, specifically the Corporate Value Chain Accounting and Reporting Standard, there are 15 categories of scope 3 emissions

Upstream scope 3 emissions

  1. Purchased goods and services
  2. Capital goods
  3. Fuel- and energy-related activities (not included in scope 1 or scope 2)
  4. Upstream transportation and distribution
  5. Waste generated in your operations
  6. Business travel
  7. Employee commuting
  8. Upstream leased assets

Downstream scope 3 emissions

  1. Downstream transportation and distribution
  2. Processing of sold products
  3. Use of sold products
  4. End-of-life treatment of sold products
  5. Downstream leased assets
  6. Franchises
  7. Investments

While this list looks a bit overwhelming, not all emission sources will be relevant. It’s important to prioritise your data collection efforts and focus on your most significant and relevant emission sources. You can ask questions such as whether you expect the emission source to be large relative to your scope 1 and scope 2 sources, or whether you have influence over the activity, or whether your stakeholders deem the emission source relevant.

The graphic below shows a graphical representation of a typical Climate Active boundary for emission sources.

Typical Climate Active boundary for emission sources

Figure 2: Typical Climate Active boundary for emission sources

What are the benefits of calculating scope 3 emission sources?

Going through the list of upstream and downstream scope 3 emission sources is a great exercise to identify the carbon intensity of your value and supply chain. It encourages the quantification and reporting of emissions from various suppliers, which can help you drive greater emission reductions. It will also have a snowball effect by not only you focusing on reducing your direct emission sources, but also encouraging your suppliers to reduce theirs.

For many organisations scope 3 emissions can represent a much larger emission source than scope 1 and scope 2 emissions, and it is often eye-opening to calculate your carbon footprint across all three scopes. Also, the more scope 3 emission sources you include in your carbon inventory, the more credibility your statement of carbon neutrality will have.

Understanding scope 3 emissions will help you plan for potential future carbon regulations and can guide corporate procurement decisions and product design.

What emission sources are in a typical Climate Active footprint?

A Climate Active carbon footprint encompasses many emission sources across the three carbon accounting scopes. One of the first steps in getting certified under the Climate Active program is to determine your carbon footprint boundary.

You need to include all emissions that you have direct control or ownership of, such as natural gas, transport fuel usage by your vehicles, and electricity consumption in your operations. You also need to identify all emissions that are a consequence of your activities but are outside of your direct ownership or control, such as waste and contractors’ transport.

You must also include emissions from third party electricity use under your organisation’s control even if they are offsite, such as outsourced data centres, if these emissions are large relative to other emission sources.

You don’t need to include every single emission source, but you must assess all other direct and indirect emissions to determine whether they are ‘relevant’.

The relevancy test

Under Climate Active, particular emissions sources are relevant when any two of the following conditions are met:

  • The emissions are likely to be large relative to your electricity, stationary energy and fuel emissions
  • The emissions contribute to your GHG risk exposure, and including and addressing them will help you to avoid future costs related to energy and emissions
  • The emissions are deemed relevant by your key stakeholders (such as major customers, suppliers, investors or the wider community)
  • You have the potential to influence an emissions reduction
  • The emissions are from outsourced activities that were previously undertaken in-house, or from outsourced activities that are typically undertaken within the boundary for comparable organisations. Data centres and transport are typical examples of this.

If an emission source is relevant, you must include it in your carbon footprint boundary. You can exclude emissions that are not relevant, but you should disclose these in your public reporting documents.

You may find that many emission sources will be relevant, but you don’t have to collect data for all of them. For instance, if the associated emissions constitute less than 1% of the total carbon footprint, you can include the source in your boundary, but you don’t have to calculate its associated emissions.

There are many more questions to be answered, so stay tuned for Part 3 of this blog post series. If you are going through Climate Active certification for the first time, the whole process can seem a bit confusing. Engaging a registered consultant such as 100% Renewables will ensure a smooth and easy process. Please download our Climate Active brochure to find out more about how we can help you with your Climate Active certification.

100% Renewables’ staff are registered consultants with Climate Active. If you would like to achieve certification, or prepare for certification, please contact Barbara.

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.

 

FAQs for becoming certified under Climate Active – Part 1

One of our service offers is helping our clients determine their Climate Active carbon footprint and obtain Climate Active certification from the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

Over the last few months, we’ve received many calls of organisations wanting to find out more about Climate Active accreditation, so we thought it would be a good idea to publish a Frequently Asked Questions about Climate Active. In this article, we will discuss questions about the program in general. In the next blog post, we will go into more details about how to get certified under Climate Active.

What is carbon neutrality?

Carbon neutrality (or zero net emissions) is reached when all emissions in your defined carbon footprint boundary are zero. Ideally, your carbon inventory boundary will encompass as many emission sources as possible so that your claim for carbon neutrality is credible.

You can reach carbon neutrality by:

  • Reducing your emissions onsite through energy efficiency or by installing solar PV
  • Buying renewable energy
  • Buying carbon neutral products and services
  • Netting off the rest of your emissions through the purchase of carbon offsets

What is Climate Active?

Carbon neutrality can be self-declared, by calculating your carbon footprint, and offsetting it. However, it does not come with the same credibility as getting certified under a Government-backed program. This is where Climate Active comes in.

Climate Active is a highly trusted certification program, which is administered by the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. It was first launched in 2010 and was originally known as the National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS).

Initially, it was only possible to achieve carbon-neutral certification for organisations, products and services, but in 2017 the certification options were expanded to events, buildings and precincts.

Organisations that achieve certification under this program are allowed to display the Climate Active trademark and logo, which showcases this achievement.

What are the benefits of going carbon neutral under Climate Active?

Becoming certified under Climate Active shows that you are taking a stand in terms of climate change and that you want to be a leadership organisation. It signals to your staff, suppliers, and customers that you have a purpose beyond making money. Climate Active certification provides your business with the opportunity to:

  • Demonstrate that your organisation is a leader by taking a stand on climate action
  • Align with Sustainable Development Goals
  • Differentiate your brand and increase customer recognition
  • Meet growing stakeholder expectations and enhance reputation
  • Attract and retain talented employees and build internal capacity
  • Connect better with the community
  • Generate revenue, increase customer loyalty
  • Save energy and operating costs
  • Future-proof your organisation by managing carbon risk, including supply-chain risk

Can I go carbon neutral outside of Climate Active?

If you are looking to achieve carbon neutrality in Australia, the most credible way is to get certified under Climate Active. However, it is not mandatory to get certified under this Standard. You can use the Standard for guidance in calculating and offsetting your carbon footprint and self-declare carbon neutrality. Alternatively, you can use the Standard to understand what your Climate Active carbon footprint would look like, in preparation for future certification under the Standard.

Should we go carbon neutral under Climate Active now or wait till our net zero target date?

If you have a long-term goal to reach net zero emissions, you can fast track this achievement by going carbon neutral under Climate Active right away.

Then as you reduce your carbon emissions by installing solar, or by being more efficient with your energy use, you will be able to reduce your carbon offset purchases. Done this way, you have set yourself an internal carbon price (equal to the price of your carbon offsets), which you can use to get sustainability projects over the line more easily.

Going carbon neutral right away will also signal to the market that you are not working towards a goal that is far away, but that you are taking immediate steps to address climate change.

What is the difference between NGER and Climate Active?

The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) scheme, established by the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 (NGER Act), is a national framework for reporting your greenhouse gas emissions, energy production and consumption. Reporting under NGER is mandatory for large energy users and carbon emitters, and only applies to scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gases (see the graphic below).

Emission sources and scopes – graphic adjusted from the Corporate Value Chain Accounting and Reporting Standard

Figure 1: Emission sources and scopes – graphic adjusted from the Corporate Value Chain Accounting and Reporting Standard

On the other hand, Climate Active is a voluntary program, and it requires that you report your upstream and downstream scope 3 emissions, as well as scope 1 and scope 2.

There are many more questions to be answered, so stay tuned for part 2 of this blog post series which discusses more details about scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and what emission sources typically form part of a Climate Active carbon footprint.

If you are going through Climate Active certification for the first time, the whole process can seem a bit confusing. Engaging a registered consultant such as 100% Renewables will ensure a smooth and easy process. Please download our Climate Active brochure to find out more about how we can help you with your Climate Active certification.

100% Renewables’ staff are registered consultants with Climate Active. If you would like to achieve certification, or prepare for certification, please contact Barbara.

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.

NSW Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020 – 2030

Key highlights

100% Renewables welcomed the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020–2030[1], released on 14 March this year, along with the release of two additional Renewable Energy Zones in regional NSW.

While the Plan’s release has been understandably overshadowed by the Covid-19 global pandemic, it is nonetheless a big milestone that sees the first of three clear, 10-year plans released that will set a pathway to net zero emissions by 2050.

It takes an aspirational 30+ year goal and brings it back to tangible actions, cross-sectoral measures, and a range of funded programs that will help governments, business and householders in NSW play their role in moving NSW to a low carbon economy.

From our reading of the Plan, there are a number of key highlights:

  • Action is grounded in science and economics, and a central focus of the Plan is about jobs that will be created and about the lowering of energy costs for consumers. Emissions reductions are a by-product of good investments in new technologies over the long term that boosts overall prosperity. Too much of the negative commentary on decarbonisation is about jobs that will be lost, and more focus is needed on the jobs that will be created, what they will be, and importantly where they will be.
  • We already have many of the technologies to drive significant abatement. Investing in breaking down barriers to these technologies is the simplest and shortest path to accelerating investment in these technologies, like:
    • energy-efficient appliances and buildings,
    • rooftop solar panels,
    • firmed grid-scale renewables,
    • electric vehicles and
    • electric manufacturing technologies.

Electrification and switching to renewables are core short, and medium-term decarbonisation strategies of many of our clients and this focus can help accelerate this transition.

  • The Plan provides certainty to investors that NSW is a place to invest in renewable energy, efficient technologies and sustainable materials. It also signals that NSW aims to lead in the development of emerging technologies that create new opportunities, whilst being flexible to re-assess and re-prioritise efforts during the Plan period.
  • Reducing our emissions by 35% by 2030 and to net-zero by 2050 is a shared responsibility, and the Plan clearly sets out the expectation that all business sectors, individuals and governments must play their part.

  • A broadening of the focus of abatement efforts to encompass low-carbon products and services, integrating these into existing and new initiatives, and providing consumers with more information to influence decisions is welcome.
  • Clarity on some of the funding, targets and programs that will help drive this change, such as:
    • $450 million Emissions Intensity Reduction Program
    • $450 million commitment to New South Wales from the Climate Solutions Fund
    • $1.07 billion in additional funding via both NSW and Commonwealth Governments in a range of measures
    • Development of three Renewable Energy Zones in the Central-West, New England and South-West of NSW to drive up to $23 billion in investment and create new jobs
    • Establish an Energy Security Safeguard (Safeguard) to extend and expand the Energy Savings Scheme
    • Expanded Energy Efficiency Program
    • Expanded Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Plan with the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and Model Availability Program to fast-track the EV market in NSW
    • Primary Industries Productivity and Abatement Program to support primary producers and landowners to commercialise low emissions technologies
    • Target of net-zero emissions from organic waste by 2030
    • Development of a Green Investment Strategy, with Sydney as a world-leading carbon services hub by 2030
    • Enhancement of the EnergySwitch service by allowing consumers to compare the emissions performance of energy retailers
    • Advocate to expand NABERS to more building types, and improve both the National Construction Code and BASIX
    • Establishment of a Clean Technology Program to develop and commercialise emissions-reducing technologies that have the potential to commercially out-compete existing emissions-intense goods, services and processes
    • Establishment of a Hydrogen Program that will help the scale-up of hydrogen as an energy source and feedstock, and the setting of an aspirational target of up to 10% hydrogen in the gas network by 2030
    • Aligning action by government under GREP with the broader state targets through clear targets for rooftop solar, EVs, electric buses, diesel-electric trains, NABERS for Government buildings, power purchasing and expansion of national parks

We believe that the Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020–2030 is a good start in the right direction for NSW. We are looking forward to helping NSW organisations to set and reach their renewable energy and abatement goals, and to avail of available information, support and incentives that help them achieve their goals.

We will be keeping track of the Plan as it is rolled out and evolves over time, and will keep clients informed about opportunities that are aligned with their needs and objectives.

[1] © State of New South Wales 2020. Published March 2020

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.

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 1: University leadership – ambitious commitments

Introduction

We previously discussed in a 2017 blog post the actions and commitments of several universities who demonstrate sustainable energy leadership. We highlighted examples of leading clean energy and low carbon research, divestments from fossil fuels, and examples of targets and actions by universities to reduce their own carbon footprint.

As we have done with our analysis of local governments and communities, our new blog post series takes a more comprehensive look at the commitments, actions and achievements of Australia’s public tertiary education sector. Like local government, universities have the capacity to influence climate change responses well beyond their own operations, through their research, education, investments, as well as their commitments to renewables and climate change mitigation and adaptation within their operations.

In this first blog post, we highlight the ambitious renewable energy and net zero or carbon neutral commitments of 14 leading universities across Australia. In a later post, we will look at some of the actions and achievements of these institutions, highlighting actions they are taking to progress towards or exceed their targets.

In other blog posts in this series, we will report on a range of other aspects of universities’ climate change performance, including:

  • Renewable energy and carbon targets, commitments and achievements by 26 other universities across Australia
  • Commitments to built environment, such as Green Star certified buildings
  • Universities that are signatories to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their progress on these
  • Universities with fossil fuel divestment commitments
  • Case examples of leading projects and achievements

Universities 100% renewable energy and carbon neutrality commitments

Carbon neutral and 100% renewables commitments by Australian universities
Carbon neutral and 100% renewables commitments by Australian universities

Below is the list of universities in Australia who have demonstrated sustainable energy leadership with their ambitious commitments to 100% renewable energy and carbon neutrality.

NoStateUniversityRenewable energy CommitmentRenewable energy Commitment
1NSWCharles Sturt UniversityOnsite generation of renewable energy to all campusesFirst university to obtain NCOS/Climate Active-accredited carbon neutral status in 2015
2NSWUniversity of NewcastleDeliver 100% renewable electricity across our Newcastle and Central Coast campuses from 1 January 2020Achieve carbon neutrality by 2025
3NSWUniversity of New South Wales100% renewable electricity by 2020Carbon neutrality on energy use by 2020
4QLDUniversity of Queensland100% renewable energy by 2020Reduction in the university’s carbon footprint
5QLDUniversity of the Sunshine CoastWater battery located at USC - cuts energy usage by 40%Carbon neutral by 2025
6QLDUniversity of Southern QueenslandCommitted to achieve 100% renewable energy by installing a Sustainable Energy SolutionCarbon neutral by 2020
7SAFlinders UniversityGenerate 30% of our energy needs from renewable sourcesAchieve zero net emissions from electricity by 2021
8VICDeakin UniversitySustainable microgrid systems in the community and their effective integration with existing energy networksCarbon neutral by 2030
9VICLa Trobe UniversityRenewable energy project will increase our solar generation by 200%Carbon neutral by 2029 and our regional campuses are set to become carbon neutral by 2022.
10VICRMIT University100% renewable energy from 2019Carbon neutral by 2030
11VICMonash University100% renewable energy by 2030Net zero carbon emissions from Australian campuses by 2030
12VICSwinburne University of TechnologyCommit to 100% renewable energy procurement by 31 July 2020Carbon neutral by 2025
13VICUniversity of Melbourne100% renewable energy by 2021Carbon neutral by 2030
14WAUniversity of Western Australia100% renewable energy by 2025Energy carbon neutral by 2025

 

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.

5 ways of visualising emission reduction pathways

Many of our services involve the development of emission reduction pathways, which greatly enhance climate change action plans. In this blog post, we will show you 5 common ways to visually display such a pathway. Seeing these different illustrations can help you to shape how you would like to present your own organisation’s pathway towards a low carbon future.

Introduction

What are emission reduction pathways?

Emission reduction pathways allow for the easy communication of

  • where your organisation is currently at in terms of greenhouse emissions (or energy consumption)
  • where you can be through the implementation of reduction measures that are feasible and cost-effective over time
  • where you would be in the absence of any measures to reduce emissions

Pathways usually start with your selected baseline year and end at some point in the future, typically at 2030, or when agreed or proposed targets are to be met.

What do emission reduction pathways cover?

Boundary:

Your emissions boundary will typically consider three things:

  • The level of an organisation or region you want to assess in terms of emissions reduction. This could be a single site, an asset class (e.g. community buildings), a Division in an organisation, a whole organisation, a town or community, and up to State and National levels.
  • The emissions and energy sources that you want to evaluate. For example, electricity, natural gas, petrol, diesel, refrigerants, waste, wastewater and so on.
  • The Scopes of emissions you want to include. Typically Scope 2 (electricity) is included, and material Scope 1 emissions (on-site combustion or direct emissions). Selected Scope 3 emissions may also be included, such as upstream emissions associated with energy usage and waste.

Units of measure:

The unit for reductions or savings to be modelled will typically be tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, or a unit of energy, such as kilowatt-hours or megajoules.

What greenhouse gas reduction measures are considered in abatement pathways?

For most organisations greenhouse gas reduction measures usually relate to six high-level carbon abatement areas as shown in Figure 1 below, being

  • Energy efficiency
  • Management of waste and other Scope 3 emissions sources
  • Sustainable transport
  • Local generation of renewable energy such as rooftop solar PV
  • Grid decarbonisation
  • Buying clean energy and/or carbon offsets

These high-level categories can be further broken down into as many subcategories as relevant within your selected organisation boundary.

Figure 1: 6 categories for carbon reduction opportunities

The need for a graphical representation of emissions pathways

For many people, it is hard to engage with complex data presented in a table or report. In our experience, it is most effective if abatement potential can be shown in a graph. The visual representation of a carbon abatement pathway allows people to better grasp the overall opportunity for abatement, where this will come from, and the timeframes involved.

It also helps organisations to better communicate their plans to their stakeholders, be they internal or external. Simple and well-presented graphics can also help when seeking decisions to budget for and implement cost-effective measures.

5 ways to graphically represent emission reduction pathways

There are many different ways you can display an emissions reduction pathway; some are more suited to specific circumstances than others. The five examples we are using in this blog post are:

  1. Line chart
  2. Waterfall chart
  3. Area chart
  4. Column chart
  5. Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC)

Let’s look at these examples in detail.



Example #1 – line chart

A line chart is a simple but effective way to communicate a ‘Business-as-usual’ or BAU pathway compared with planned or target pathways at a total emissions level for your selected boundary. Such a boundary could be comparing your whole-business projected emissions with and without action to reduce greenhouse gases.

This type of graph is also useful to report on national emissions compared with required pathways to achieve Australia’s Paris commitments, for example.

Figure 2: Example of a line chart

Example #2 – waterfall chart

A waterfall chart focuses on abatement measures. It shows the size of the abatement for each initiative, progressing towards a specific target, such as 100% renewable electricity, for example. It is most useful to highlight the relative impact of different actions, but it does not show the timeline of implementation.

Figure 3: Example of a waterfall chart

Example #3 – area graph

Area graphs show the size of abatement over time and are a great way to visualise your organisation’s potential pathway towards ambitious emissions reduction targets.

They do not explicitly show the cost-effectiveness of measures. However, a useful approach is to include only measures that are cost-effective now and will be in the future, so that decision-makers are clear that they are looking at a viable investment plan over time to lower emissions.

Figure 4: Example of an area chart that shows reduction actions and diminishing emissions

Another option of displaying an area chart is shown in Figure 5. In this area chart, the existing emission sources that reduce over time are not a focus, and instead, the emphasis is on emission reduction actions. You may prefer this version if there is a large number of reduction measures, or if you include fuel switching actions.

Figure 5: Example of an area chart which emphasises emission reduction actions



Example #4 – column graph

A column graph is similar to the area graph but allows for a clearer comparison between specific years compared with the continuous profile of an area graph. In the example column graph below, we are looking at Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, as well as abatement in an organisation over a 25-year timeframe covering past and future plans.

In the historical part, for instance, we can see Scope 1 (yellow) and Scope 2 (blue) emissions in the baseline year. The impact of GreenPower® (green) on emissions can be seen in any subsequent year until 2018.

Going forward we can see in any projection year the mix of grid decarbonisation (red), new abatement measures (aqua) including fuel switching and renewables purchasing, as well as residual Scope 1 and 2 emissions.

Figure 6: Example of a column chart

Example #5 – Marginal Abatement Cost (MAC) Curve

MAC curves focus on the financial business case of abatement measures and the size of the abatement. MAC curves are typically expressed in $/t CO2-e (carbon), or in $/MWh (energy), derived from an assessment of the net present value of a series of investment over time to a fixed time in the future.

The two examples below show MAC curves for the same set of investments across an organisation. Figure 6 shows the outcome in 2030, whereas, in Figure 7, it is to 2040 when investments have yielded greater returns.

MAC curves are a good way to clearly see those investments that will yield the best returns and their contribution to your overall emissions reduction goal.

Figure 7: Example of a Marginal Abatement Cost curve with a short time horizon

Figure 8: Example of a Marginal Abatement Cost curve with a longer time horizon

Please note that no one example is superior over another. It depends on your preferences and what information you would like to convey to your stakeholders.

100% Renewables are experts in putting together emission reduction and renewable energy pathways. If you need help with determining your strategy, targets and cost-effective pathways, 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.

Shrinking your combined load profile [includes video]

In June, Barbara, our Co-CEO, presented at the Renewable Cities Australia conference at the International Convention Centre in Sydney. The topic of her talk was ‘Reaching ambitious energy efficiency and renewables’.

At the core of her speech was a demonstration of how the combined load profile of a typical metropolitan local council changes after the implementation of energy efficiency and onsite renewable energy.

Please note that a video of the ‘shrinking load profile’ is included at the bottom of this post.

What is a load profile?

A load profile shows how your energy demand changes over a 24-hour period, from meter data that your energy retailer can provide on request or via a web portal linked to your account.

Meter data starts and ends at midnight and is usually in half-hour or 15-minute intervals. The vertical axis shows your energy demand in kilowatts as it changes over this time. The less your energy demand, the lower the curve.

A load profile can also be called ‘interval data’ and is a very useful tool for analysing your energy consumption. For example, a load profile can identify equipment that is running unnecessarily at night or may show you spikes in your energy consumption that hint at inefficient operation of equipment. Changes in your profile from summer to spring or autumn can give you an idea of the energy use needed for cooling in a building.

You use load profiles to help you identify how you can be more energy efficient, and they can also help you to size your solar PV installation.

What is a combined load profile?

A combined load profile adds the demand for all your sites to show you the overall energy demand of your organisation. This information is particularly important when you buy energy via a renewable energy Power Purchase Agreement that is supply-linked.

Building up a combined load profile

In this blog post, we build a combined load profile for a metropolitan local government. Figure 1 shows the combined demand of small sites, like small libraries, amenities blocks, community halls and childcare centres.

Energy demand typically rises sharply in the morning as people start to use these facilities, and it falls as people leave them in the evening. At night there is usually demand for appliances, small servers and emergency and exit lights.

Figure 1: The energy demand of small sites



Now, we are adding the electricity demand for large sites on top of the small sites. Examples for large sites are central administration offices & chambers, depots and aquatic centres. Night demand for depots and offices may be low with good after-hours controls. However, pools are usually heated all the time and can be energy-intensive at night.

Figure 2: The energy demand of large sites

The surprising thing for metropolitan councils is that most of the energy demand happens at night, through streetlighting, which runs from dusk until dawn. Streetlights can consume as much as half of a metropolitan council’s electricity! This creates a combined profile with high demand at night and a big dip in demand during the day.

Figure 3: The energy demand of streetlighting

Lastly, we add parks and sporting fields. Most of the energy demand for sporting fields is lighting and irrigation, so naturally, this demand also occurs from late in the evening (sporting field lights) to early morning (irrigation).

Figure 4: The energy demand of parks, ovals and fields

The impact of onsite energy efficiency and renewable energy measures on the combined demand profile

Now that we have a load profile that aggregates energy demand across all sites, let’s implement onsite abatement measures such as energy efficiency and solar PV.

So that you can see the impact of these measures, we are providing a visual cue to show you where our starting line is, because now we start subtracting.

Figure 5: Implementing onsite measures



Energy efficient lighting for parks and sporting fields

LED lighting replacements and smart controls for parks, ovals and fields can lead to a 40-70% reduction in energy demand. At the same time, you may improve your service provision through better lighting, more activated fields and higher utilisation. The net benefit is shown in Figure 6. A reduction in energy demand brings down the whole load profile from the starting point.

Figure 6: Lighting replacement for parks, ovals and fields

Figure 7 shows the impact of a bulk upgrade to LED lighting for local roads. LED streetlights are 60-80% more energy efficient than older technologies such as Compact Fluorescents or Mercury Vapour.

Figure 7: Streetlighting upgrade for local roads

Figure 8 shows the impact of a bulk upgrade to LED lighting for main roads, with similar levels of savings as local roads. Smart controls such as dimming can further increase savings for streetlights.

Figure 8: Streetlighting upgrade for main roads

Implementing energy efficiency improvements to lights, air conditioning, IT systems, appliances, motor systems and building controls at your facilities can achieve at least a 10% reduction, but more might be achievable. It depends on your individual circumstances and what measures you have implemented in the past.

Figure 9: Energy efficiency at Council sites

Installing onsite solar PV

Figure 10 shows the impact of installing onsite solar PV at your sites. You can see the dip in the load profile in the middle of the day, as the solar energy generation reaches its maximum.

Figure 10: Impact on Solar PV

Battery storage will allow further savings in your electricity and peak demand. Figure 11 illustrates how stored solar energy can reduce a building’s peak demand in the afternoon when peak demand charges might apply, thus reducing power bills.

Figure 11: More Solar PV and battery energy storage



What the load profile was and what it could be

So, we have implemented a number of cost-effective efficiency and renewable energy measures, and we can see that demand has reduced significantly. Figure 12 shows what the load profile looked like before implementation of any actions, and what it could be through energy efficiency and onsite solar PV.

Before you think about switching your electricity supply to offsite renewables (e.g. through a Power Purchase Agreement), you should consider the changes behind-the-meter measures like energy efficiency and solar PV can make to your energy demand, and how this can lower the amount of energy you need to buy over time.

Figure 12: Summary of what load profile is and what it could be

Switching your electricity supply to renewables

Figure 13 shows what remains of your original load profile. The next step will be to switch from conventional electricity supply to 100% renewable energy. This can be staged over time or may be possible all in one go.

Figure 13: Offsite opportunities like PPAs

Goals achieved!

In our experience, by implementing onsite energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, you can save 30-40% in electricity demand. By switching your supply to renewables, you can also achieve 100% renewable energy.

Figure 14: Goals Achieved!

You can watch a video of the shrinking load profile here:

Would you like to see how much you could reduce your load profile?

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their renewable energy strategies and timing actions appropriately. If you need help with analysing your load profile and with developing your renewable energy plan, 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.