Category Archives: Presentations

Revolving Energy Funds – why you need one and using an Excel tool to model the outcome [with video]

In a previous blog post we released in 2017, I wrote about how to set up a Revolving Energy Fund or REF, also known as a ‘Green Revolving Fund’ or ‘Sustainability Revolving Fund’.

In this blog post, I will dive deeper into Revolving Energy Funds. I will talk about what they are, how to operate them, what their benefits are and how to model the financial outcome using an Excel tool we developed.

As part of the Sustainable Councils and Communities and Sustainability Advantage programs, 100% Renewables was commissioned to develop a set of resources to assist councils to pitch, design, develop, implement and manage a successful Revolving Energy Fund (REF). I had the pleasure to present the resources we developed in a webinar which was hosted by the New South Wales Government. Kelly Williamson from Campbelltown City Council also shared her experience in setting up Council’s Revolving Energy Fund.

Barbara Albert presenting at a webinar about Revolving Energy Funds
Figure 1: Barbara Albert presenting at a webinar about Revolving Energy Funds

Here is what was discussed in the webinar:

What are Revolving Energy Funds?

A Revolving Energy Fund (REF) is a self-sustaining funding mechanism, which you start with seed capital that you invest in sustainability projects, such as energy efficiency, water conservation, or solar projects for example. The fund’s unique feature is that you return savings from sustainability projects back into the REF to finance the next round of investments. In this way, you can spend funds multiple times to drive emissions reduction, resource and cost savings.

Revolving Energy Fund - funding cycle
Figure 2: Revolving Energy Fund – funding cycle

Three benefits of a Revolving Energy Fund

Here are three benefits of implementing a REF to finance your climate action plan.

Benefit 1 – Responds to climate change

Implementing a REF addresses a strategic priority for business. More and more organisations are committing to ambitious targets such as net-zero emissions, or 100% renewable energy. As the need to decarbonise increases, the need for innovative financing to enable cost-saving efficiency and renewable energy projects increases in importance.

Benefit 2 – Results in faster implementation

By re-investing and tracking energy cost savings, organisations can more quickly realise the full financial returns from investing in efficiency and renewables.

Benefit 3 – Easier to finance projects

Sustainability projects are often capital-intensive and potentially ‘not core business’, making these projects challenging to implement when compared with other investment options that improve a business. Having a dedicated REF makes it easier to finance sustainability projects.

How to operate a Revolving Energy Fund

You always need to start a REF with seed capital. How much you inject initially may depend on the number and size of opportunities in your climate action strategy, but clearly the more you put in, the more projects you can fund, and the more self-sustaining the financing cycle will be.

In addition to seed capital, you may also consider putting in top-up funds in subsequent years to make sure the fund does not run out of money, which can lead to a loss of momentum in implementing your climate action strategy. You may also look for grant funding opportunities or other incentives to help build and sustain a REF.

Whatever money is in the fund can be used to finance sustainability projects such as solar, lighting or air conditioning upgrades. These projects come with resource and associated cost savings, and in line with the design intent of a REF, part of the savings are returned to the fund to be invested in new initiatives.

The proportion of savings returned to the fund, and for how long, will affect the fund’s financial health and sustainability. You can simulate the performance of your REF in the Excel tool we’ve developed, balancing seed capital, top-up funds, grants and returned savings to ensure there are always enough funds available in the REF to implement your pipeline of projects. This is illustrated in Figure 3 below.

How to operate a Revolving Energy Fund
Figure 3: How to operate a Revolving Energy Fund

REF modelling tool

To help organisations model the financial outcome of implementing a REF, we developed an easy-to-use Excel tool. The REF tool can help you simulate the performance of the fund for your assessed sustainability projects and determine the required amount of money to achieve a cash-positive scenario.

You can use the tool to:

  • Input a list of projects with costs and savings that the REF is intended to help finance
  • Estimate the total funding needed to finance projects based on their expected year of implementation
  • Forecast how a portfolio of projects will perform
  • Help with planning and budgeting

Here are a couple of screenshots of the tool:

Set up your Revolving Energy Fund, such as the amount of seed capital and regular top-ups
Figure 4: Set up your Revolving Energy Fund, such as the amount of seed capital and regular top-ups
Input your projects, along with their costs and expected resource savings
Figure 5: Input your projects, along with their costs and expected resource savings
Analyse how your inputs affect the balance of the Revolving Energy Fund
Figure 6: Analyse how your inputs affect the balance of the Revolving Energy Fund

I have prepared a video to demonstrate how this tool works. The 10-min clip starts with an overview of Revolving Energy Funds and then dives into the use of our REF tool.

Three critical success factors

Revolving Energy Funds are a great tool to finance your climate action strategy, but you should be mindful of the following critical success factors:

  1. Get senior management commitment to emissions reduction over the long term: With senior management support and commitment to achieving long-term emissions reductions, the REF is likely to be better supported over the long term. A REF policy with commitment to support this with funds and resources to help meet ambitious climate action targets is one way to secure long term senior support.
  2. Make sure you always have enough money in the fund: a viable REF has enough cashflow in and out of the fund to implement projects that contribute to achieving your targets. Getting the balance right between initial funds, grants, top-up funds and savings returned to the fund versus savings returned to general funds is critical to success.
  3. Set up the fund with an appropriate governance structure: Like other funding, a REF should be functional, transparent and auditable. It is recommended that you develop REF documentation setting out how the fund will be managed, establish clear project eligibility and selection criteria, as well as how savings will be measured and re-invested back into the REF. You should also set up a REF management committee, and assign accountability of the fund to a manager.

If you are considering a Revolving Energy Fund and want to avoid any pitfalls in setting it up optimally, please contact us for help.

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their climate action strategies and plans, and supporting the implementation and achievement of ambitious targets. If you need help to create 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.

NSW as a renewables superpower and what must be done to reach net-zero emissions [with video]

Last week, I presented on ‘NSW as a Renewables Superpower and What Must Be Done To Achieve Zero Carbon Emissions’ at the 13th Energy Storage World Forum Virtual Conference.

You can watch a 15-min-video of my presentation here, which includes information about the newly released New South Wales Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap:

What is Australia’s emissions trend?

At the moment, Australia is emitting roughly 530 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually. Please see below Figure 1, which shows Australia’s historical emissions. To put this into perspective, it means that every year, each Australian resident is responsible for about 21 tonnes of emissions. This is roughly four times higher than the global average of about 5 tonnes.

Australia's historical emissions (Source: Quarterly Update of Australia's National Greenhouse Gas Inventory | National inventory total, year to June 2000 to year to March 2020)
Figure 1: Australia’s historical emissions (Source: Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory | National inventory total, year to June 2000 to year to March 2020)

What is interesting to see in this graph is that our emissions in 2020 are about on the same level as they were in 2000. Is this good enough? Let us have a look at global emissions.

Where are we now and where do we need to be?

Despite the increased focus on climate change in the last few years and the milestone Paris Agreement, global greenhouse gas emissions have not reduced, and the emissions gap between where we should be and where we are is larger than ever. The main driver of long-term warming is the total cumulative emissions of greenhouse gases over time. In the past decades, greenhouse gas emissions have been increasing.

Due to all historical and current carbon emissions, global temperatures have already risen by about 1°C from pre-industrial levels. Continuing with business as usual could result in a temperature increase of over 4°C.

If all countries achieved their Paris Agreement targets, it could limit warming to roughly 3°C. However, to limit warming to 1.5°C, current Paris pledges made by countries are not enough.

Carbon emissions need to decline at a much steeper rate in the near future and reach net-zero by mid-century to have a chance of keeping warming to below 1.5°C. Please see Figure 2 below.

Global warming projections
Figure 2: Global warming projections

Australia has committed to a 26-28% GHG emission reduction by 2030 from 2005 levels. This is not ambitious enough for a 1.5-degree pathway. Also, as a country, we have not committed to net-zero emissions by mid-century, which is where we need to be. However, all states and territories have committed to this target, which effectively means that Australia has a net-zero target.

With most of Australia’s major trading partners having now committed to a net-zero emissions target by around mid-century, and with a new US President-elect who seems likely to increase America’s climate ambitions, perhaps the Australian Government will eventually follow suit. We’ve heard in recent days that the Government may abandon plans to use Kyoto carryover credits to meet its targets, which is a good start if true.

Australia's commitments, 100% Renewables
Figure 3: Australia’s commitments, 100% Renewables

We will see what happens with our national emissions targets in time.

Let’s have a look at Australia’s emissions projection. Under 2019 projections, we will end up with 500m tonnes of carbon emissions in 2030, some 30m lower than our current levels. Under our Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement, we need to reach a 26-28% reduction by 2030. This is not anywhere near where we need to be to keep temperature increase to safe levels.

Australia's emissions projection (Source: Australia's emissions projections 2019, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources)
Figure 4: Australia’s emissions projection (Source: Australia’s emissions projections 2019, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources)

However, the good news is that even without policies and targets, the renewables share of electricity will grow, because we have reached the point where renewables are cheaper than fossil fuels.

For many years, we have not done enough. Now, we need to catch up on the years in which we have procrastinated. And rapidly.

NSW as the new renewables superpower

In March this year, the NSW Government released the Net Zero Plan Stage 1 and the Electricity Strategy. NSW officially committed to a 35% reduction in emissions by 2030 and to reaching net-zero by 2050. The focus of the plan is on emissions reduction across key sectors, such as energy, transport, waste, agriculture, mining and carbon finance. The net-zero plan and the electricity strategy will create thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars in new generation and transmission investment in NSW, mostly in regional areas.

A few days ago, the NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap was released, which will establish NSW as a renewable superpower through a coordinated approach to transmission, generation and storage of renewable energy in the State in the coming decades.

NSW's plan to achieve net-zero by 2050
Figure 5: NSW’s plan to achieve net-zero by 2050

Over the next 15 years, four of the five NSW coal power stations are expected to close. These four power stations account for three-quarters of NSW’s electricity supply! As you can see in Figure 6, the closed power plants will leave a gap in electricity generation.

The exciting news is that this gap will be filled by renewable energy generation. NSW will develop several Renewable Energy Zones, enabled by a Transmission Development Scheme, which will have a combination of solar, wind and pumped hydro generation. The infrastructure needed to replace power stations has long lead times, and the Central-West Orana is the first pilot REZ that is currently being developed. Central-West Orana, New England and the South West Renewable Energy Zones will contribute 12 Gigawatts of generating capacity and 3 Gigawatts of firm capacity by 2030, and even more over the long term.

Scheduled coal plant closures and Renewable Energy Zones (Source: AEMO, 2020 Integrated System Plan, July 2020)
Figure 6: Scheduled coal plant closures and Renewable Energy Zones (Source: AEMO, 2020 Integrated System Plan, July 2020)

These renewable energy zones will contribute greatly to grid decarbonisation, which means that over time, the electricity we consume will increasingly come from renewables rather than fossil fuels.

However, this transition will take time. And we can’t rely on governments doing all the work. Everyone needs to act, countries, companies and communities. So, what can you do in your organisation and as an individual to track towards zero emissions?

To answer this question, we first need to take a look at where our emissions are coming from.

Where do our emissions come from?

The biggest part of our emissions is electricity generation, which at the moment comes mostly from fossil fuel power plants. The next most significant contribution is stationary energy consumption, such as burning natural gas. The next highest contributor is transport, which is driving cars, moving goods in trucks, and flying, for example.

Emissions contribution by sector (Source: Quarterly Update of Australia's National Greenhouse Gas Inventory | Figures and Tables for the March Quarter 2020 )
Figure 7: Emissions contribution by sector (Source: Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory | Figures and Tables for the March Quarter 2020 )

Fugitive emissions are mostly methane emissions lost to the atmosphere during coal and gas mining activities and transporting gas. Industrial processes and product use emissions come from industrial activities which are not related to energy, such as cement & lime, metal and chemicals production, as well as from hydrofluorocarbons used as refrigerant gases and other synthetic gases.

Agriculture emissions come from fertiliser usage and growing animals such as sheep and cows. Bill Gates has said that if cattle were a country, they would sit behind China and the US in greenhouse gas emissions.

Waste emissions come mainly from the decomposition of waste in landfill, whereas LULUCF emissions are land-use and land-use change and forestry. In Australia, these emissions are negative, as they are a carbon sink.

What can we do to reduce our emissions to net-zero?

The emissions reduction task is a combination of a small number of significant measures that are happening to reduce the emissions of primary inputs to goods and services, and the actions that individual businesses and consumers can take to reduce their carbon footprint.

There is some heavy lifting that happens independent of consumers.

Heavy lifting that happens independent of consumers
Figure 8: Heavy lifting that happens independent of consumers

Grid decarbonisation

The most prominent example is grid decarbonisation or the ‘greening of the grid’. Coal-fired power plants are being replaced with renewable energy in all Australian states. Just this week, Victoria announced $540million in the budget to develop six renewable energy zones, and Tasmania wants to be 200% renewable by 2040.

Green hydrogen

There is also a big push for green hydrogen in nearly every State, which could potentially replace natural gas over time. The NSW Net Zero Plan is aiming for hydrogen to supply up to 10% of current natural gas demand by 2030.

Biomethane

Biomethane is gas being produced from renewable sources, rather than extracting natural gas.

Reforestation

Reforestation means planting more trees, which reduces carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Green steel

Green steel is made by using hydrogen, rather than coal, to strip the oxygen out of iron ore. The by-product is water rather than carbon dioxide. At this time, ThyssenKrupp plans to build a 1.2 million tonne per annum green steel plant in Germany by 2025.

Methane reduction

Cows produce a lot of methane, which can potentially be reduced by up to 80% by introducing seaweed into their feed, based on research being led by CSIRO.

Waste management

One of the ways we can deal with the waste problem is to treat the waste as a resource in waste-to-energy plants.

Sequestration of fugitive emissions

Sequestration of emissions resulting from the extraction and production of LNG is a significant challenge but one which will hopefully improve in coming years.

Most businesses and consumers will benefit from these upstream and downstream changes in terms of their carbon footprint. But rather than rely solely on these changes, some of which may take decades, business and individuals can act themselves to reduce their carbon footprint faster.

What emission sources can you influence?

Every day, you are consuming electricity, and most of you probably use natural gas as well, whether for industrial process heating, air conditioning or cooking. Everyone needs to get from point A to B. Sometimes, we use our cars, sometimes we fly. And we transport our goods using trucks, ships and trains. Everyone consumes goods and services daily, and our consumer choices influence emissions. And we all produce waste.

So how can we reduce our emissions to net-zero?

Achieving zero carbon emissions from a consumer’s perspective

  • Be more energy efficient – we can we more energy efficient, for instance by turning off equipment when it’s not needed, or by replacing old, inefficient equipment, with new, energy-efficient ones.
  • Install solar – where we can, we should install solar. It reduces our emissions immediately, and it is cost-effective. And in future, battery storage will be more cost-effective as well, which will allow us to scale up our solar ambition and take more control over our energy supply and risk.
  • Buy renewable energy – we can choose where the electricity we are buying comes from. We can consciously choose to purchase renewable energy. Bigger organisations can do that via Power Purchase Agreements; smaller consumers can elect to procure GreenPower®.
  • Sustainable transport – we can buy efficient, low- and zero-emissions vehicles and implement EV infrastructure such as charging points. Even bigger trucks can be electrified, which you can see in these pictures here. Using video conferencing also helps to reduce emissions.
  • Less waste – we can reduce our emissions from waste simply by consuming less, by recycling more and by fostering a circular economy, in which the waste of one organisation can be a resource for another business.
  • Sustainable procurement – we can make more sustainable buying decisions and purchase carbon-neutral products, or products that were made from renewable sources, that can be recycled, or composted.
  • Go carbon neutral – on our journey to net-zero, we can invest in carbon offsets to finance projects that support emissions reduction or sequestration.
  • Leadership and governance – and perhaps most importantly, we can show leadership. We can implement all the solutions I’ve talked about earlier and then share our stories with others so that they can learn from our experience. Don’t’ be a follower, be a leader or at least a fast follower.

A challenge for you

I’d like to challenge you today to rethink your carbon footprint. Both your own and the one of the organisation you work for.

Here is my challenge to you:

  1. Switch your electricity supply to 100% renewable energy if you can
  2. Walk and cycle more. It will be good for your health!
  3. Consider a more sustainable diet

 

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their climate action strategies and plans, 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.

Bridging the ambition gap [with video]

This blog post is following on from various previous articles. The first is ‘Science-based targets in a nutshell’, the second is ‘Ambitious commitments by universities’, and the third is ‘Ambitious commitments by state and local governments’ in Australia. While it is great to see so many ambitious commitments by climate change leaders, more businesses need to follow this lead and help bridge the emissions gap and act on climate change.

Despite the increased focus on climate change in the last few years and the milestone Paris Agreement, global greenhouse gas emissions have not reduced, and the emissions gap between where we should be and where we are is larger than ever.

As you can see figure 1 below, which is being updated regularly by Climate Action Tracker, without additional efforts, human-caused carbon emissions may increase to over 100 billion tonnes annually by 2100, which is double current global emissions.

2100 Warming Projections, Climate Action Tracker - Sep 2020 update
Figure 1: 2100 Warming Projections, Climate Action Tracker – Sep 2020 update

You can see a simpler version of this graphic in figure 2. The main driver of long-term warming is the total cumulative emissions of greenhouse gases over time. In the past decades, greenhouse gas emissions have been increasing.

Global warming projections, 100% Renewables
Figure 2: Global warming projections, 100% Renewables

Due to all historical and current carbon emissions, global temperatures have already risen by about 1°C from pre-industrial levels.

Continuing with business-as-usual could result in a temperature increase of over 4°C.

If all countries achieved their Paris Agreement targets, this could limit warming to roughly 3°C.

However, to limit warming to 1.5°C, current Paris pledges made by countries are not enough.

Carbon emissions need to start to decline rapidly in the near future and reach net-zero by mid-century if we are to have a chance of keeping warming to 1.5°C.

To bridge this ambition gap, not only do governments need to act, so do businesses and communities. To keep temperature increase within safe levels, you need to track along the 1.5-degree line, and to do that, you should set yourself carbon reduction goals in line with science. For every one year of failed action, the window to net-zero is reduced by two years.

It’s time to take a stand on a global stage and act on climate change. So what are three steps you can take?

  • Set a target in line with science
  • Develop a climate action plan
  • Reduce emissions in your business and your value chain

I recorded a 3-min video of a presentation on this topic I recently held for one of our clients, which you can watch here:

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.

7 key learnings when engaging the community online

Running virtual community engagement sessions

Before Covid-19, we mostly ran community climate action engagement sessions face-to-face in town halls, community halls and the like. This approach ended abruptly in March this year, but the community’s desire to see action on climate has not.

To respond to this situation, our business, our local government clients, as well as their communities, have rapidly upskilled in the use of virtual conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams. In addition, polling and other interactive software can be used to increase engagement, collaborate and capture communities’ needs and ideas for a clean energy future. We even started to use Zoom to deliver energy audits via online delivery, without us needing to be at the site physically.

Many of the benefits of delivering interactive community engagement online are obvious for us and our local government clients. No posters have to be created and printed. There are no venue hire or use costs, and staff do not have to work after hours multiple times. Travel time and costs are reduced, and there are no catering costs. All of this leads to a lower carbon footprint to deliver services, and workshops can be repeated many more times in a shorter timeframe.

However, to make virtual community climate action engagement workshops truly valuable as an alternative to the face-to-face town hall approach (or, in future, a complementary approach), the quality of the engagement needs to be as good online as it is face-to-face.

We have worked closely with our clients to make this happen. The purpose of this blog post is to share our seven key learnings of running virtual community engagement sessions.

Seven key learnings when engaging the community in online workshops

  1. Keep it short
  2. Define objectives and messaging
  3. Preparation is key
  4. Keep it interesting and engaging
  5. Do test runs
  6. Measure your success
  7. Capture learnings

 

1 Keep it short

With many people working full-time online and often from home, concentrating on one thing for more than 45 minutes to an hour is difficult. We have found it is best to keep community engagement sessions as short as possible.

For recent business and community engagement sessions for the City of Newcastle, we kept both sessions to one hour each. People were able to stay fully engaged, participate during their working day, and schedule the session among their other commitments.

2 Clearly define objectives and messaging

As with any workshop planning, you need to start with these two questions

  • Who are you communicating to?
  • What do you want to achieve from the engagement session?

If your Council is planning to use online engagement for climate action planning, the number of participants, language and structure will be different when communicating to businesses, as opposed to the general public. Ensuring your communication plan notes your target audiences and your overall objectives, and tailors how and what you will communicate is key to setting up for a successful online session.

3 Preparation is key

The following questions might help you plan your engagement session:

  • How will you market the event?
  • Will you survey the community ahead of the engagement session, and what will you ask them?
  • How will you handle registrations?
  • What content do you need to organise before the event?
  • How will you measure success?
  • Will you record the session, and do you need permission for this?
  • How will you follow up with participants?
  • Will you ask for feedback via your ‘Have your Say’ page, thank you emails, etc.?
  • Do you need to line up other people to help with the event management?
  • What will be the run sheet?
  • What notes will you and your speakers need to have during the session?

4 Keep it interesting and engaging throughout

‘Death by PowerPoint’ is definitely to be avoided. It is important to mix things up, to have different speakers, to use multimedia and most importantly, to give the audience a voice.

To give everyone a voice, if you have more than five people, use polling software to solicit input as well as discussion. Ask questions regularly during the session, displayed to participants, and have the community respond using their phones or their web browsers. Asking questions at specific junctions helps to ensure that energy levels are kept high.

If you have large groups, it can help to use ‘break-out room’ functions to get small groups to discuss topics and bring their insights, ideas or feedback to the wider group or to interactive polling or pinboards.

It also makes sense for the facilitator to monitor the chat so that issues and questions can be addressed in real time. An assistant can also perform this role, and raise key questions or themes to the facilitator for a response.

For sessions where only a select number of participants are present, such as with business engagement sessions, it works well to get participants to share their stories.

5 Do test runs

Practice makes perfect. You should run through the whole session as a small team to test whether it all aligns, how the energy flows during the session components, that all links and audio works, that links to videos, interactive polling and pinboards works, that break-out room functionality works, what the holding slide looks like, whether the timing works, handing over between speakers, testing the technical functionality – make sure everyone is familiar with it.

6 Measure your success

Define your measures of success upfront in your communication plan. Good measures of success are:

Before the engagement session:

  • Number of registrations

During the engagement session:

  • Number of people who participated
  • How many people stayed throughout the duration of the workshop as opposed to drop-outs.
  • Level of engagement

After the engagement session:

  • Social media chatter
  • Email feedback

7 Capture learnings

Every community engagement session yields new insights which can be used to make the next community engagement better than the previous. There is always room for improvement and for achieving excellence. What is important is that there is a debrief, in which learnings are shared amongst your team. Example of questions you can ask yourself are:

  • What worked, what didn’t?
  • Did the timing work?
  • Have the objectives of the engagement session been met?
  • Has the engagement delivered the desired results?
  • What information is being shared on social media post the event?
  • Have participants sent through any feedback emails?
  • What could we do better next time?

Case study – Community engagement for the new Climate Action Plan of the City of Newcastle

The City of Newcastle is currently updating its strategic approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and their city-wide move to a low carbon economy. This involves the revision and renewal of the existing 2020 Carbon and Water Management Action Plan, which has completed its term. The revised document will be published as the ‘2025 Climate Action Plan’.

The new Action Plan will account for Council’s achievements over the last decade, set new targets and outline innovative and sustainable programs. It will outline specific goals and priorities for the next five years and will provide a roadmap to achieve positive impacts such as:

  • Clean energy
  • Resource efficiency
  • Reducing emissions in the supply chain
  • Sustainable transport
  • Emissions targets
  • Vision for a low carbon city

As part of engaging the community in the development of this plan, 100% Renewables was hired to design and run two community engagement sessions, one for businesses, the other for the wider population. The purpose of the workshops was to gain the community’s opinions and ideas during the strategy development before the draft Plan goes to Public Exhibition later this year.

Business roundtable

Given that many of the City’s emissions come from industry, a business roundtable was organised with about 20 participants. The session started with Barbara, our Co-CEO, providing context around the development of the plan and by showing examples of best practice of global cities.

Then, Jonathan Wood from the NSW Government talked about the NSW’s Net Zero Plan, after which, Adam Clarke, Program Coordinator in the City Innovation and Sustainability, talked about council’s actions and what they have achieved thus far. Newcastle is the first council in NSW to achieve the status of being 100% renewable. Adam also showed an example of how the community can track towards net zero based on a model that we developed.

We also invited Hunter Water, MolyCop and the Uni of Newcastle to share their sustainability journey, which was received very well. After the formal presentations, we hosted a roundtable discussion to identify opportunities for how council and businesses can collaborate to achieve a net-zero emissions outcome.

Throughout the session, participants engaged by using the chat function, and by answering our polling questions.

Community information session

Ahead of the community information session, we asked the community to submit their top three topics and questions that they would like to see covered in the information session. More than 50 contributions were received which helped to shape the workshop.

On the day, around 80 people participated in the information session. Just like with the business roundtable, we had Jonathan talk about the NSW Net Zero Plan and Adam shared what council has achieved thus far. Regularly throughout the sessions, we polled the community to provide feedback and to get input on how council and the community can share the burden to achieve a net-zero emissions outcome.

At the end of the workshop, participants provided feedback via the chat function. Here are a couple of examples that was received:

  • “Thank you Barbara, Jonathan and Adam, really appreciate your time and City of Newcastle – excellent info session, looking forward to the next step in addressing the climate emergency – local govt plays a critical role in this, so it’s heartening to see CN taking a leadership role. “
  • “Thanks all, great presentation!”
  • “Thank you, a very interesting & new way of having a meeting!”

 

100% Renewables are experts in helping local governments develop their operational as well as their community climate change strategies and action plans. If you need help with community engagement, modelling emission reduction scenarios or establishing the carbon footprint of your community,  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.

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.

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.

Developing the Climate Change Action Plan for Queanbeyan-Palerang [with video]

100% Renewables ran two community consultation workshops in the Queanbeyan-Palerang area to help Council with the development of the new Climate Change Action Plan. We were engaged by QPRC Council to develop the Action Plan both for council operations, as well as for the community. This blog post contains a video (<2min) with a summary of the workshop in Braidwood.

Development of the Climate Change Action Plan

The new Climate Change Action Plan is informed by science, community input, analysis of council operations and community emissions, as well as previous climate change actions.

Shaping the Community Climate Change Action Plan
Shaping the Community Climate Change Action Plan

Community workshops

At the workshops, we provided the community with background information about the emissions profile of the community (about 1 million tonnes per year), but also about the population growth which will mean that emissions may grow further.

We also pointed the community to ambitious targets by local governments and communities in NSW. We asked the community to recommend targets for carbon emissions and renewable energy, for both the community and council operations.

As part of the workshop, we asked the community to provide input on how carbon emissions can be reduced, across energy, transport, waste, water and the natural environment. We also sought input on climate change adaptation.

Next steps

Our next steps are to take the feedback we received at the two workshops, as well as the survey, and work with Queanbeyan-Palerang Council to develop their Climate Change Action Plan.

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their renewable energy strategies. If you need help developing yours, 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.

The beginner’s video guide to assessing the value of buying or building your own renewables

One of our clients recently went to market via an Expression of Interest (EOI) to solicit interest from firms and potential partners with building or sourcing large-volume renewable energy to meet a significant fraction of their electricity demand.

We were contracted to review the responses to the organisation’s EOI and provide our recommendations about sourcing large-volume renewables. The requested interest was for two technical options, to build a solar farm on the organisation’s land, or to purchase renewable electricity from other projects – for example from utility-scale wind and solar projects elsewhere in the National Electricity Market.

Energy markets and evaluating EOI responses is complex, so for our final presentation, we were asked to also cover some of the basics to allow the leadership team to understand how we arrived at our recommendations.

When we created the slide deck for this presentation, we thought about how we could best present the underlying information. Pictures say more than words, so we decided to use animations to

  1. explain the fundamentals of the electricity supply chain,
  2. the components of your electricity bill, and the
  3. difference between installing solar behind your meter versus building a large-scale solar farm, versus sourcing renewables from an offsite project.

You can watch the video with our animations here:

If you need help with going to market or with evaluating responses to your EOI, RFT or RFP,  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.