Tag Archives: leadership

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.

NSW Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020 – 2030

Key highlights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their renewable energy strategies and timing actions appropriately. If you need help with developing emission scenarios that take into account policy settings, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

Part 4: University leadership – fossil fuel divestments

To recap, we have already published three blog posts of our University leadership series. Part 1 showed the ambitious renewable energy and carbon-neutral commitments of leading universities across Australia, Part 2 highlighted universities with Green Star certified buildings, and Part 3 detailed universities’ commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs.

This is Part 4 of our tertiary education sector blog series where we look at the role of universities in fossil fuel divestments. We briefly discussed this previously in our blog post in 2017 which highlighted a number of universities who have committed to partially or fully divest from fossil fuels.

The movement to divest from the fossil fuel industry has grown rapidly in recent years and commitments have been made by many organisations, including local councils, charitable trusts, super funds and the ACT Government. Universities have been a central focus of the campaign with students urging their administrations to turn endowment investments in the fossil fuel industry into investments in clean energy and communities most impacted by climate change.

What is fossil fuel divestment?

According to Wikipedia, fossil fuel divestment is an attempt to reduce climate change by exerting social, political, and economic pressure for the institutional divestment of assets including stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments connected to companies involved in extracting fossil fuels.

Australian Ethical reports that, in 2019, the fossil fuel divestment movement is making it clear to companies who extract coal, oil or gas from the ground that they do so without a social licence. The release of harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere via the burning of these fossil fuels is threatening to destabilise life on this planet.

In Australia, fossil fuel divestment is being led by Universities and Local Councils as part of the global fossil fuel divestment campaign launched by 350.org in 2011.

Universities with fossil fuel divestment commitments

The following table shows universities that have made fossil fuel divestment commitments.

NoStateUniversityAcronymFossil fuel divestment commitments
1ACTAustralian National UniversityANUPartially divest by targeting coal
2NSWUniversity of NewcastleNEWCASTLE“We no longer directly invest in fossil fuel companies and we have integrated Mercer’s ESG ratings across the University’s investments.”
3NSWUniversity of New South WalesUNSWSignificantly reducing their investment in fossil fuels
4NSWUniversity of SydneyUSYDDivestment from many of Australia's largest 200 oil and gas companies
5QLDQueensland University of TechnologyQUT“No fossil fuel direct investments” and “no fossil fuel investments of material significance”
6VICLa Trobe UniversityLATROBEFully divest from fossil-fuel related company investments over the next five years
7VICMonash UniversityMONASHPartially divest by targeting coal
8VICSwinburne University of TechnologySWINBURNE"Divest from companies that earn significant revenues from fossil fuel extraction or coal power generation"
9VICUniversity of MelbourneUNIMELBDivest from companies that do not meet the requirements of a to-be-developed “sustainable investment framework for managing material climate change risk”, by 2021

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their climate change strategies and action plans, and supporting the implementation and achievement of ambitious targets. If you need help to develop your Climate Change Strategy, please contact Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

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.

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.

Part 3: University leadership – SDGs

Looking back at part 1 and part 2 of our University leadership climate change blog series, we highlighted the ambitious renewable energy and carbon-neutral commitments of leading universities across Australia as well as showcasing their efforts in the built environment to improve their carbon footprint by aiming for and achieving Green Star certification.

In this article, we focus on universities’ commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals or ‘SDGs’. According to the ‘Getting started with the SDGs in universities’ reference guide, engaging with the SDGs will benefit universities by helping them demonstrate the impact a university can have, capture demand for SDG-related education, build new partnerships, access new funding streams, and define a university that is responsible and globally aware. Education and research are explicitly recognised in a number of the SDGs and universities have a direct role in addressing these.

Universities commitment to the SDGs

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their associated 169 targets were agreed by all United Nations member states in September 2015 and constitute a shared global framework of development priorities to 2030. They aim to bring an end to extreme poverty, promote prosperity and well-being for all, protect the environment and address climate change, and encourage good governance, peace and security.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The University Commitment to the SDGs is a short statement that affirms a university’s intention to support and promote the SDGs through their research, education and operations, as well as report on activities in support of the goals.

The Commitment was initiated by SDSN Australia, NZ & Pacific (AusNZPac) as a tool to engage senior university leadership on the SDGs, start conversations within a university on how it can support them, and demonstrate to external stakeholders why universities are critical for addressing the SDGs.

The universities’ commitments include:

  • support and promote the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals
  • undertake research that provides solutions to sustainable development challenges
  • provide the educational opportunity for students to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development
  • contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by ensuring campuses and major programs are environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive, and
  • report on activities in support of the Sustainable Development Goals

Universities who have signed up to the SDGs

Below is the list of Australia’s universities who are signatories to the University Commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals[1].

StateUniversityDate SignedLink to Commitment
QLDJames Cook University19 August 2016Website
SAThe University of Adelaide26 August 2016Announcement
VICUniversity of Melbourne31 August 2016Sustainability Plan
VICMonash University1 September 2016Announcement
NSWUniversity of Technology, Sydney2 September 2016Announcement
VICRMIT University12 January 2017Website
NSWWestern Sydney University3 March 2017Announcement, Website
VICDeakin University3 April 2017Case Study
QLDGriffith University13 October 2017Website
VICSwinburne University of Technology21 June 2018Announcement
WAMurdoch University29 March 2019Announcement
TASUniversity of Tasmania18 April 2019Sustainable University Report
QLDBond University9 July 2019Website
NSWCharles Sturt University20 September 2019Announcement
NSWUniversity of Wollongong25 September 2019Announcement

[1] At the time of writing, the web page was last updated in September 2019.

Deakin University, Griffith University, La Trobe University, Monash University, RMIT University, University of Melbourne, University of Western Australia, University of Wollongong and  University of Technology Sydney  are also signatories to the UN Global Compact.

The UN Global Compact is a voluntary initiative based on CEO commitments to implement universal sustainability principles and to take steps to support UN goals. Here in Australia, we have the business-led network of the UN Global Compact, the Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA). The GCNA brings together signatories to the UN Global Compact in Australia to advance corporate sustainability and the private sector’s contribution to sustainable development.

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.

 

Part 2: University leadership – Green Star certifications

In Part 1 of the University climate change leadership series, we highlighted the ambitious renewable energy and carbon-neutral commitments of leading universities across Australia.

With the built environment accounting for a large part of a university’s carbon footprint, building efficiency is an important part of any carbon management strategy. For new buildings, in particular, aiming for and achieving Green Star certification is increasingly important.

What is Green Star?

Green Star is a voluntary sustainability rating system for buildings and communities in Australia. It was launched in 2003 by the Green Building Council of Australia.

The Green Star rating system assesses a project’s sustainability across its life cycle and aims to encourage leadership in environmentally sustainable design and construction, innovative sustainable designs, and to highlight cost savings, health and productivity benefits of sustainable buildings.

There are four Green Star ratings:

  • Green Star – Communities (for precinct-scale developments),
  • Green Star – Design & As Built (design and construction of a building),
  • Green Star – Interiors (interior fit-out of a building),
  • Green Star – Performance (operational performance of a building).

Buildings that have been registered with Green Star cannot use the Green Star certification mark until the project is certified, but they can be listed as a registered project.

There are three Green Star rating scales for the first three of these categories:

  • 4 Star – Australian Best Practice
  • 5 Star – Australian Excellence
  • 6 Star – World Leadership

Buildings assessed against the Green Star – Performance rating tool are given a Green Star rating from 1 to 6 stars. For more information, go to https://new.gbca.org.au/.

Universities with Green Star certifications

Below is a list of universities in Australia which are Green Star Certified and Registered as at January 2020. All Green Star certified ratings are valid for a restricted period, except As Built certified ratings which do not expire.

The first 6 Star – Communities rating to be awarded to an Australian University is the University of Melbourne’s Parkville Campus, recognising world leadership in sustainable master planning.

NoStateUniversityRegistered
1VICMonash University1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **
2 (Design)
3 (As Built)
1
2VICUniversity of Melbourne1 (Design)
1 (Communities)
5 (Design)
1 (Design & As Built)
5
3NSWWestern Sydney University1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **3 (Design)
2 (As Built)
1 (Design)
4VICRMIT University5 (Design)
1 (Interior)
1 (Design)1
5NSWUniversity of Technology, Sydney1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **
1 (Interior)
2 (Design)
1 (As Built)
6VICLa Trobe University5 (Design)1
7SAUniversity of South Australia1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **
2 (Design)
1 (As Built)
8TASUniversity of Tasmania1 (Design & As Built)2 (Design)2
9WACurtin University1 (Interior)1 (Design)
1 (Communities)
3
10ACTAustralian National University1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **1 (Design)
11NSWAustralian Catholic University1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **1 (As Built)
12QLDUniversity of Queensland1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **1 (Design)
13QLDQueensland University of Technology1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **
1 (Design)
1
14NSWMacquarie University1 (Design) and 1 (As Built) **3
15NSWUniversity of Newcastle1 (Design)1 (Design)1
16SAUniversity of Adelaide1 (Design)
1 (As Built)
17NSWCharles Sturt University1 (Design)1 (Design)
18VICVictoria University1 (Design)1 (Design)
19NSWUniversity of Wollongong1 (Design)1 (Design)
20NSWUniversity of New South Wales1 (Design)
21QLDGriffith University1 (Design)
22QLDBond University1 (Design)
23SAFlinders University1 (Communities)
24QLDUniversity of Southern Queensland1 (Design)
25ACTUniversity of Canberra1 (Design)
26VICSwinburne University of Technology1 (Design)
27NTCharles Darwin University1 (Design)
28NSWUniversity of Sydney1

**Ratings apply to the same building

 

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their energy and carbon strategies which lead to climate change leadership. If you need help with creating an action plan that takes into account science, input from key organisational stakeholders and is shaped to your needs, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

Part 1: University leadership – ambitious commitments

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

Universities 100% renewable energy and carbon neutrality commitments

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

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

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

 

100% Renewables are experts in helping organisations develop their renewable energy strategies and timing actions appropriately. If you need help with developing emission scenarios that take into account policy settings, please contact  Barbara or Patrick.

Feel free to use an excerpt of this blog on your own site, newsletter, blog, etc. Just send us a copy or link and include the following text at the end of the excerpt: “This content is reprinted from 100% Renewables Pty Ltd’s blog.

Developing the Renewable Energy Plans for Temora and Cowra Councils

Site visits to Temora and Cowra Councils

Last week, Barbara and I undertook site visits in Temora and Cowra. We spent two and a half days at each location to identify renewable energy and energy-saving projects to save energy and cost.

Temora Shire Council

We are working with Temora Shire Council in Western New South Wales to develop their Renewable Energy Master Plan. Temora is a regional council who are part of the New South Wales Government’s Sustainable Councils and Communities Program.

Barbara and I spent two and a half days visiting Temora Shire Council’s major facilities and looked at energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities. With a prolonged drought in NSW, it is great that Council has a recycled water system which is used to water parks and gardens in Temora.

It was also fantastic to discuss potential opportunities with Council’s engineering manager who wants to see more renewables and energy efficiency implemented across Council.

The council has already installed three solar PV systems and will shortly install a further two systems. We hope through this holistic view across Council to help Temora implement another 10 or 15 projects over the next few years, including larger-scale solar projects with battery storage. Council is also planning to upgrade all of its street lighting to new energy-efficient LED technology. As part of our work, we will help to ensure that the Council gets access to Energy Saving Certificates (ESCs) which can reduce the cost of the project.

The council is also interested in low emissions and electric vehicles for their fleet going forward. At the moment, there are no public charging stations within the Shire, but it’s possible that this may change in Temora in the near future.

It is fortunate that Temora Shire Council is a sister council to Randwick City Council in Sydney, for we developed a Renewable Energy Roadmap to help them meet their Council’s commitment to reach 100% renewables by 2030. Urban and Regional partnerships are a great way for learning, experiences and policies to be shared so that everyone benefits, and with both Councils heading in the same direction this will undoubtedly be the case here.

Cowra Shire Council and CLEAN Cowra

We also visited another regional council, Cowra Shire Council in Central West New South Wales. Cowra Council is part of New South Wales Government’s Sustainability Advantage Program. NSW and 100% Renewables have worked previously with Cowra Shire Council to develop a high-level sustainability strategy.

Barbara and I spent two days looking at all of council’s major wastewater and water sites, aquatic centres and buildings to identify opportunities that will inform the development of a renewable energy plan for Cowra Shire Council for the next several years. This work will continue into 2020.

CLEAN Cowra

As part of this work, Sustainability Advantage also engages with a not-for-profit organisation called CLEAN Cowra. CLEAN Cowra is establishing a local, innovative energy generation project that will create and use renewable biogas to generate clean energy, provide heat to local businesses and create saleable green gas, as well as a range of other environmental and business benefits.

Our work at this stage is looking at the thermal energy requirements of industrial / manufacturing businesses in Cowra who may be part of the project, to help determine the heating demand that could be met by the renewable energy generation project.

 

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