Tag Archives: behind the meter

Coffs Harbour City Council – ‘Powering Ahead’

100% Renewables has helped many organisations to set ambitious renewable energy and carbon reduction goals and developed the strategies and action plans that will help them get there.

While this is one key metric for our business, a greater measure of success is when we see clients implement projects that will take them towards their targets. In this blog post, we provide an update on the multi-site solar PV projects being rolled out by Coffs Harbour City Council.

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Coffs Harbour City Council’s climate change targets and plan

In 2016, Coffs Harbour City Council adopted its Renewable Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan (REERP), which was developed by 100% Renewables. The REERP sets ambitious carbon reduction and renewable energy goals:

  • Reduce Council’s annual corporate emissions from 2010 levels by 50% by 2025
  • Reach 100% renewable energy by 2030

The REERP drew on extensive analysis of Council’s emissions profile, stakeholder engagement and assessment and prioritisation of savings opportunities.

Coffs Harbour City Council’s success in reducing carbon emissions

Council has implemented some major initiatives over several years. It led a transition away from mercury vapour streetlights to compact fluorescents in the early 2000s’ and has now gone further and upgraded many of its streetlights to LED technology as recommended in the REERP. It also installed one of the first rooftop solar PV systems greater than 100 kW, with the 137 kW system on Council’s Rigby House.

Coffs Harbour City Council’s solar rollout

‘Powering Ahead’ is the next stage in Coffs Harbour City Council’s REERP implementation, and involves the roll out of rooftop and ground mounted solar PV to 16 sites across Council’s operations.

While the REERP identified around 1,300 kW of solar PV opportunities, further assessment of the opportunity for solar, particularly at Council’s largest energy-using facilities, led to an increase in the opportunity to 2,100 kW.

A capacity of 2,100 kW means that the renewable energy that council will produce equals the annual energy consumption of 420 houses and 750 cars taken off the road.

Sawtell Holiday Park1, Coffs Harbour Council
Figure 1: Sawtell Holiday Park1, Coffs Harbour Council

In October 2019, Council announced the successful tenderer for the Powering Ahead project. Work has commenced with projects completed or well advanced at ten sites.

These include a 150 kW solar PV system at the Coffs Harbour Regional Airport, and an innovative 20 kW and 25 kWh solar and battery project at the Cavanbah Centre, which has intermittent daytime use and high night energy use which can be part met with stored solar energy. In total, these installations have almost 370 kW of solar PV.

Coffs Airport, Coffs Harbour Council
Figure 2: Coffs Airport, Coffs Harbour Council

The remaining sites are planned to be completed by the end of June 2020 and will include a large 870 kW ground-mounted solar array at the Coffs Harbour Water Reclamation Plant, as well as a 492 kW system at the Karangi Water Treatment Plant.

Council has a ‘Powering Ahead’ web page and this is regularly updated, keeping the community informed of Council’s progress.

Coffs Harbour City Council is one among many leading councils showing that achieving ambitious renewable energy and carbon reduction goals is both feasible and cost-effective.

100% Renewables is proud to have played a role in helping this leader through the development of their Renewable Energy Strategy. We look forward to Coffs Harbour Council’s continued success in reaching its carbon and renewable energy targets in coming years.

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.

 

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.

How do I compare the value of onsite versus offsite renewables for my business?

Rising electricity prices and falling costs for renewable energy technologies have led many businesses to look at ways they can reduce their energy costs by installing solar panels ‘onsite’, or sourcing renewable energy ‘offsite’ by building offsite solar farms or buying renewable energy. So what approach offers the best value for money?

Onsite or ‘behind-the-meter’ solar installations

For many businesses installing solar panels is an excellent fit, as operating hours and sunshine hours are often the same. That means that the energy generated by solar panels can be used instantly instead of buying electricity from the grid.

In our last blog post, we explained how the electricity supply chain is made up of energy generation, transmission & distribution, electricity market and environmental costs. When you generate solar energy on your own site, this offsets all of these costs. In essence, you are replacing the whole electricity supply chain with every kWh of energy your solar installation generates, so the value of each kWh saved is high. For a small business the value of each kWh of solar energy generated may be 25¢/kWh, and for large businesses, it is typically 12-15¢/kWh. This is illustrated on the left-hand side of Figure 1 below.

When batteries become cheaper, businesses with

  • more roof space
  • intermittent energy demand
  • operations outside of sunshine hours

will be able to install more solar panels with batteries and achieve this same value for their savings.

Figure 1: The value of your renewable energy generation depends on whether it is onsite or offsite
Figure 1: The value of your renewable energy generation depends on whether it is onsite or offsite

Offsite renewable energy

Some businesses are considering building their own renewable energy generation system – typically a solar farm – or want to buy renewable energy from their retailer at the same or lower cost than current rates. In either case, the renewable energy generator that you source electricity from is ‘offsite’, and the electricity generated is delivered to the grid first. From the grid, the renewable power is distributed to your business premises in the same way regular power is delivered.

Because the energy still goes through the grid, you will still pay all the distribution and electricity market costs, as well as some or all of the environmental charges. Savings will be achieved where:

  • The cost of buying the renewable energy generated is less than the cost of buying ‘regular’ power from fossil-fuel generators, and where
  • The cost of Large-Scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) from the offsite plant is less than these costs when passed through on your electricity bill by your retailer.

This is illustrated on the right-hand side of Figure 1 above.

So which approach offers better value?

Onsite and offsite renewable energy strategies are complementary, and can both be pursued by business.

Offsite renewable energy generation can deliver small cost savings compared with buying ‘standard’ electricity from your electricity retailer. However, you may be able to source most or all of your electricity from renewables.

Onsite solar, and in future batteries, will deliver a much better return on investment because savings are across the whole electricity supply chain, but for most businesses the percentage of electricity that can be generated in this way is small, usually from 5-30% of total consumption.

By 2050, we believe renewables will power the grid, and that all businesses will run on 100% clean energy. However, reducing costs will be an ongoing focus for businesses. Maximising the use of onsite roof and land space for solar arrays and battery storage will improve your bottom line and provide clean energy at the lowest cost.

Each solar project is different, and each project needs to be evaluated on its own merit. If you are interested in getting a business case developed for your planned solar installation, 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.