As the year draws to a close, Patrick and I reflected on the many success stories of our clients. There have been so many achievements, and we wanted to take this opportunity to showcase a few of them.
Last week, construction started at the East Lismore Sewerage Treatment Plant for the largest floating solar farm in Australia. We were presenting to Lismore City Council on their progress towards their 2023 100% renewable energy goal when the first photos of the construction came through, to much excitement. Not only is this the largest floating solar farm in Australia, but it is also community funded.
Lismore City Council was a Green Globe winner in 2015 for their Renewable Energy Master Plan and a finalist this year for their floating solar project. A video with drone footage and an interview with Council’s Environmental Strategies Officer and the mayor can be seen here.
In November, Tweed Shire Council adopted their Renewable Energy Action Plan unanimously. The Council has a long-term aspirational goal to be 100% renewable. To make sure that Council can reach this target, the following interim goals were adopted:
* 25% of Council’s electricity self-generated from solar by 2022, compared to 2016/2017 use
* 50% of Council’s electricity self-generated from solar, incorporating storage, by 2025 compared to 2016/2017 use
As part of the Renewable Energy Action Plan, Council will invest over $10 million in solar and energy efficiency projects over two stages to 2025. Council’s commitment has received widespread local coverage, with the Tweed Climate Action saying the plan was “an investment in the future of our community”.
On the topic of adopted Council targets, we would also like to mention Port Macquarie Hastings Council, who adopted their Long-Term Energy Strategy in October 2017, which includes aiming for 100% renewable energy by 2027. Council resolved to pursue and implement the most cost-effective energy projects first and to aim to implement one or more mid-scale solar projects, in the medium to long-term.
As an immediate first step, we were engaged by Council to evaluate the business case for streetlighting. Based on the analysis, Council has engaged Essential Energy to roll out an LED lamp replacement project for eligible local roads.
Coffs Harbour City Council was already committed to a renewable energy future, having adopted their Renewable Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan (REERP) in April 2016. This includes targets of;
* 50% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2010 levels by 50% by 2025, and
* 100% renewable energy for Council operations by 2030
The first stage of the REERP is well underway and will see Council’s energy consumption reduced through a range of energy efficiency and solar projects. Council’s adopted delivery program for the period 2017 to 2021 sees funding committed to implement and monitor the REERP to ensure its success.
In August this year, the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) adopted their Carbon Management Plan, which will lead them to net zero emissions by 2025. The Plan, developed with 100% Renewables, will see USC continue its impressive sustainability performance, with widespread implementation of solar PV systems, energy efficiency and other carbon management initiatives.
The picture on the left shows the Marginal Abatement Cost Curve for 2040. The implementation of energy efficiency and solar behind-the-meter opportunities will enable the University to achieve carbon neutrality in a cost-neutral, if not cost-positive way.
An organisation which achieved carbon neutrality this year under the Australian Government’s Carbon Neutral Program is CHOICE. 100% Renewables helped CHOICE achieve NCOS accreditation for the baseline year. We are also currently training CHOICE staff, so they can calculate their inventory and populate the NCOS documentation in-house. The carbon footprint covers emissions from the building where CHOICE conducts its business and also includes emissions from associated activities such as business travel and staff commuting to and from work.
As part of its move towards carbon neutrality, CHOICE has installed many measures over the past few years to reduce its footprint. These include more efficient use of their operational resources, LED lights and replacing air conditioning with more efficient models. Solar panels are currently being installed to further reduce reliance on grid electricity.
And last but not least we would like to congratulate North Sydney Council for their plans to transition their community to renewables. Much work has been done by councils to reduce their own operational carbon footprint. Only a few councils are looking outside their operations to the boundaries of the local community, and at measures to reduce their community carbon footprint.
Currently, the uptake of solar PV across the North Sydney LGA is only 5%, well below the national average but similar to many inner-city areas. Council commissioned 100% Renewables to develop strategies on how the uptake of renewables like solar or heat pumps can be increased. A key part of this work was to recognise the needs of the full range of community stakeholders, such as tenants, owners, strata developments, free-standing homes, residents and businesses, and to identify and develop solutions that can meet individual needs. North Sydney Council placed much emphasis on community consultation, so as part of the work, we ran workshops with councillors, a focus group and a large community group to get valuable feedback on what abatement measures will work and how the community wants to be engaged going forward.