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Case Study – Nambucca Valley Council REAP

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 how Nambucca Valley Council is progressing with implementing its Renewable Energy Action Plan (REAP).

Nambucca Valley Council

Located on the mid-north coast of NSW, Nambucca Valley Council is an excellent example of how resource-constrained councils can achieve ambitious renewable energy and emission reduction goals. The Nambucca Valley region has been demonstrating its commitment to sustainability, with more than 30% of residents and businesses having implemented solar PV and solar hot water on their buildings. In total there is around 10 MW of solar PV capacity installed across Nambucca Valley as of May 2020, according to the Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI).

Council had previously invested in several energy efficiency improvements, such as compact fluorescents for streetlights, smart controls for water & sewer system motors, and building lighting retrofits. For several years Council has been part of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s (DPIE) Sustainability Advantage (SA) Program.

Council’s pathway to develop a renewable energy plan

In 2017, Council’s 2027 Community Strategic Plan (CSP) was developed and adopted, which recommended that Council “provide community leadership in sustainable energy use”. In response to achieving the objectives of the CSP, Council established a Clean Energy Committee in August 2017. The committee recommended that Council formulate a Renewable Energy Action Plan, including a renewable energy target and an emissions reduction target, a recommendation which Council adopted in August 2018.

Alongside this, Council also joined the Cities Power Partnership (CPP) – a national program that brings together Australian towns and cities making the switch to clean energy. The key commitment highlighted here is that Council will take on a leadership position to help the community move towards a zero net carbon emissions future within the 2030 to 2050 timeframe.

In 2018, Nambucca Valley Council engaged 100% Renewables to prepare a Renewable Energy Action Plan (REAP) to set out how Council can transition to renewable stationary energy. The REAP was presented to Council and was adopted on the 24th of April 2019.

What did the REAP recommend?

The REAP drew on extensive analysis of Council’s emissions profile, stakeholder engagement and assessment and prioritisation of savings opportunities across Council’s facilities. Short, medium and long term action plans were developed. Based on energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities that were identified the following goals were recommended:

  • Reduce Council’s annual corporate emissions from 2017/18 levels by 60% by 2025
  • Reach 60% renewable energy by 2030

These goals are underpinned by a range of energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities including:

  • A total of 263 kW of solar PV opportunities across buildings, water and sewer sites
  • Street lighting LED upgrades of local and main roads which are expected to generate energy savings of 560 MWh (or 19% of Council’s electricity use)
  • Building LED lighting upgrades which are expected to generate energy savings of 48 MWh
  • Where equipment is being replaced, or new equipment is being installed, Council should ensure that sustainable purchasing processes are used, aligned to local government guidelines
  • Renewable energy power purchase agreement of 25% in the medium term, increasing in the long term

In addition, the REAP set out eleven financing options available to Council to fund energy efficiency and solar projects.

Exploration of funding sources for REAP

Alongside adoption of the REAP, Council engaged with  DPIE’s Sustainable Councils and Communities program (SCC) to ascertain the best way of financing the recommended actions of the Renewable Energy Action Plan.

We carried out an analysis of the eleven funding options against a range of Council’s criteria, and a Revolving Energy Fund (REF) was chosen to enable the REAP’s work program (outside water & sewer sites) to be implemented.

We developed a REF model showing how all projects could be implemented, with initial seed funding, to achieve a net positive cashflow every year. As part of another project funded via the SCC Program, we visited nearly 30 community facilities across the Nambucca Valley and developed business cases for solar PV and battery energy storage. These opportunities were also integrated into the REF.

How is Council progressing with the implementation of the REAP?

Council has already implemented some major initiatives since adopting the REAP. One of these opportunities is the upgrade of its local road streetlights to LED technology. This will help reduce Council’s electricity consumption by 12% per year.

With further support from the SCC Program, we were able to develop technical specifications and evaluate quotations for the implementation of a 50 kW rooftop solar PV system on its Macksville Administration Office, and Council will shortly implement solar PV at four additional sites. All sites are drawn from the short-term action plan in the REAP. It is anticipated that savings from these will help to continue to fund the REAP in coming years.

50 kW solar installation at Macksville Administration Office
Figure 1: 50 kW solar installation at Macksville Administration Office

Council was also successful in securing a grant that will enable it to install energy-efficient heat pumps and thermal blankets at the Macksville Memorial Aquatic Centre, and as part of this work, Council is assessing the scope for solar panels to be installed that would offset the additional energy that will be consumed by the heat pumps.

Council’s progression to regional leader

As a regional Council in NSW, resources are often constrained, especially for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and carbon reduction projects. However, Council is well on its way to achieve the recommendations of its adopted REAP, and to assist the community to become more energy and carbon efficient through the

  • leadership shown by Council itself,
  • underpinned by the community’s voice calling for more sustainable energy,
  • assisted by DPIE’s Sustainability Advantage and Sustainable Councils and Communities programs, and
  • supported by regional counterparts and the Cities Power Partnership community.

Nambucca Valley 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 Action Plan, Revolving Energy Fund and project implementation. We look forward to Nambucca Valley Council’s continued success in reaching its carbon and renewable energy targets in coming years.

pdf-iconCase study “Nambucca Valley Council Renewable Energy Action Plan
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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.

How Randwick Council achieved >40% energy savings at Lionel Bowen Library

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 showcase measures implemented by Randwick City Council to significantly reduce the energy demand and carbon footprint of the Lionel Bowen Library in Maroubra, Sydney.

Randwick City Council’s climate change targets and plan

Randwick City Council has set a number of ambitious environmental sustainability targets for its operations, including targets for reduced greenhouse gas emissions. In March 2018, Council adopted the following targets:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from Council’s operations – net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, including but not limited to the following measures:
    • Council’s total energy consumption – 100% replacement by renewable sources (generated on site or off-site for Council’s purposes) by 2030.
    • Council’s vehicle fleet – net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Energy eficiency is a key strategy for achieving these goals, as set out in the 100% Renewable Energy Roadmap completed in early 2020.

Lionel Bowen Library energy use and solar

The Lionel Bowen Library is one of Council’s largest energy-using facilties, consuming 7.8% of Council’s total electricity demand in 2017/18. This was after the implementation of a 30 kW solar panel array on the roof of the library in 2013, as well as efficiency measures including VSD control of the cooling tower fan and voltage optimisation of the main incoming supply. The solar array generates 40,000 kWh of renewable energy each year, which is fully consumed within the library.

Lionel Bowen Library solar installation, Randwick City Council (photo by Patrick Denvir)
Lionel Bowen Library solar installation, Randwick City Council (photo by Patrick Denvir)

New energy efficiency projects at Lionel Bowen Library

Concurrent with the development of Council’s 100% Renewable Energy Roadmap, Randwick initiated a project to roll out LED lighting at selected sites, including the library. A multi-faceted process included the

  • development of the business case to secure internal support and approval,
  • selection of a preferred supplier,
  • implementation of a trial ‘LED space’ and measurement of light and energy savings as well as visitor perceptions of the upgraded space,
  • influencing key internal stakeholders to support the whole-facility rollout,
  • implementation including claiming the Energy Saving Certificates (ESCs) for the project, and
  • measurement of the energy savings.

During the development of the 100% Renewable Energy Roadmap it was observed that after-hours control of several of the library’s air conditioning systems was not working effectively. In addition, a storeroom fan system in the basement of the building was observed to be running continuously.

Consultation with facilities management staff indicated that faulty BMS controllers meant that time schedules as well as after-hours controls were not correct, and quotes would be sought for new timers to rectify this. Quotes for a new timer for the storeroom fan system were also sought.

In late 2019, the new time control measures were implemented, with significant immediate energy savings identified in load data for the library. The combined impact of the LED lighting and air conditioning system control changes has been to reduce the library’s electricity consumption by nearly 40% when comparing similar periods of 2017/18 with energy consumption in early 2020. This saving is illustrated below in two charts.

  • The first chart shows monthly electricity consumption from June 2018 through to February 2020, with the steep downward trend in monthly electricity use evident.
Monthly electricity consumption - June 2018 to February 2020, Bowen Library
Monthly electricity consumption – June 2018 to February 2020, Lionel Bowen Library
  • The second chart shows daily load profile data and clearly illustrates the impact of the air conditioning timer upgrade on night energy demand between November and December 2019.
Load profile - Nov vs Dec 2019, Bowen Library
Load profile – Nov vs Dec 2019, Lionel Bowen Library

Future savings initiatives at Lionel Bowen Library

There are plans to implement additional measures at the library that will see even more energy savings achieved and more renewable energy. These new measures are set out in Council’s 100% Renewable Energy roadmap and include:

  • Installation of a further 30-45 kW of solar PV on the roof of the library which will be absorbed on site.
  • Progressively upgrade the main and split air conditioning systems in the library (which have reached the end of their economic life) with energy efficient systems. This will have the added benefit of removing R22 refrigerant from the library and seeing a switch to a lower-GWP refrigerant. Opportunities to implement VSD control of fans and pumps, and to optimise supply to unused or infrequently used spaces will also be assessed.
  • Implement new BMS controls for new air conditioning plant as this is upgraded.

The combined impact of these changes over time could be a reduction in grid electricity supply to Lionel Bowen Library of 60% compared with 2017/18 electricity consumption.

Progressing towards its emissions reduction target

The energy saving measures implemented at Lionel Bowen Library are just a few among nearly a hundred actions that, when implemented over the next several years will see Randwick City Council realise its goal to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

pdf-iconCase study “How Randwick Council achieved >40% energy savings at Lionel Bowen Library”
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Randwick 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 100% Renewable Energy Roadmap. We look forward to council’s continued success in reaching their 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.

Tweed Shire Council’s REAP ramps up

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 Tweed Shire Council.

pdf-iconCase study “Tweed Shire Council’s REAP ramps up
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Tweed Shire Council’s climate change targets and plan

Tweed Shire Council set itself a target to self-generate 25% of the Council’s energy from renewable resources by 2022, and 50% by 2025. Council’s Renewable Energy Action Plan (REAP) sets out the actions that Council will implement to meet these targets.

Tweed Shire Council’s solar journey

With around 230 kW of rooftop solar installed before the REAP was adopted, Council installed a further ~200 kW at the Tweed Regional Museum and Tweed Regional Aquatic Centre (TRAC), both in Murwillumbah in 2018/19.

Tweed Regional Aquatic Centre (TRAC) - Murwillumbah
Figure 1: Tweed Regional Aquatic Centre (TRAC) – Murwillumbah, Tweed Shire Council

In May 2019, Council also voted to approve the development of a 604 kW ground-mounted solar array at its Banora Point Wastewater Treatment (WWTP) plant, Council’s most energy-intensive facility.

With planning for this major project well underway, Council has also implemented several new roof and ground-mounted systems in recent months, including two systems at its Bray Park Water Treatment Plant and water pumping station, and systems at Kingscliff WWTP and Mooball WWTP.

Bray Park Water Treatment Plant, Tweed Shire Council
Figure 2: Bray Park Water Treatment Plant, Tweed Shire Council

Council is also working to deliver new rooftop solar projects at sites across Tweed Heads and Kingscliff in the coming months. With the completion of these projects Council’s total installed solar PV capacity will be close to 1,500 kW, which is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 300 homes, or the same as taking 540 cars off the road.

Challenges of rolling out the solar program

Implementation of Council’s solar rollout program has not been without its challenges. Most projects have to overcome barriers during planning, implementation and post-installation phases and Tweed Shire Council’s program is no exception.

Roof structural assessment outcomes, electrical connections, system performance and yield, retrofitting monitoring systems and linking into Council’s own IT systems have created challenges for Council’s staff and contractors to assess and overcome and provide ongoing lessons in the issues and solutions that will inform future solar projects.

The success of the solar program

Perhaps the biggest factor underpinning the success and speed of Council’s solar rollout in the last year has been the investment Council has made in bringing skilled staff together to implement the program. With overall coordination of the REAP, experienced senior engineering staff planning and coordinating the solar implementation works, and experienced energy management and measurement and verification staff tracking and optimising the performance of installed systems, Tweed Shire Council is supporting its REAP program with the resources needed to ensure success.

Progressing towards its renewable energy target

In parallel with the solar rollout, Council is also progressing a number of other projects that will see it get closer to its targets, including building lighting, renewable energy power purchasing, and selected air conditioning upgrades. Planned roof upgrades will also support future solar PV systems.

Tweed Shire 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 Tweed Shire Council’s continued success in reaching its 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.

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.

pdf-iconCase study “Coffs Harbour Council powering ahead
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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.

 

Customer success stories in 2017

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.