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Sydney unveils $60m green energy deal

Renewable electricity will power all city-owned properties, including pools, libraries, playing fields, depots and council buildings, including historic Sydney Town Hall.

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The Sapphire Wind Farm will be among the sources of the renewable energy
The Sapphire Wind Farm will be among the sources of the renewable energy

The City of Sydney has unveiled a $60 million green energy deal that it claims will help it meet its electricity needs using only wind and solar. It is the biggest standalone renewables deal for an Australian council.

 

Renewable electricity will power all city-owned properties from 1 July 2020, including pools, libraries, playing fields, depots and council buildings, including the historic Sydney Town Hall.

 

The 100 per cent renewable electricity commitment is projected to save Sydney up to half a million dollars a year over the next 10 years.

 

Wind and solar

 

It is committed to buying electricity from the 270 megawatt (MW) Sapphire Wind Farm near Glenn Innes in northern NSW, the 120MW Bomen Solar Farm near Wagga Wagga in the south-west of the State, and not-for-profit community-owned solar scheme near Nowra on the south-east NSW coast.

 

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the new agreement with innovative energy company, Flow Power, would generate jobs, support the state’s drought-stricken regional areas, and further cut harmful emissions.

 

"The science is clear, without urgent, co-ordinated and global action to reduce emissions in the next decade, we face a very high risk of triggering runaway climate change.

 

She added: "This new commitment will see the city’s operations cut emissions by around 20,000 tonnes a year - equivalent to the power consumption of 8,000 local households.

 

"The city has been certified carbon neutral since 2011 and will now achieve its commitment to reduce emissions by 70 per cent six years ahead of our 2030 deadline.

 

"Successive Australian Governments have shamefully presided over a climate disaster, and now we are at a critical juncture. We can act here in Sydney, but we desperately need the Australian Government to reintroduce a price on carbon to meet our Paris emissions reduction targets, and to establish a Just Transition Authority to ensure Australians employed in fossil fuel industries find appropriate alternate employment."

 

"Successive Australian Governments have shamefully presided over a climate disaster, and now we are at a critical juncture"

The agreement with Flow Power will see three-quarters of the city’s power sourced from wind generation and one-quarter from solar.

 

"This deal will empower the city to tap into the wholesale energy market and support the system. This is the forward-thinking approach to energy that will drive us toward the new energy future,” Flow Power CEO, Matthew van der Linden.

 

"We need organisations to lead by example when it comes to their energy strategy. If just 20 per cent of the market followed the city’s lead, it would drive investment in 11 gigawatt of new renewable generation, that’s double the current pipeline of renewable projects."

 

Community solar farm

 

The community solar farm project is being developed with Repower Shoalhaven and is expecting to be completed in 2020.

 

With a construction cost of close to $5 million, the coastal solar farm will deliver additional investment to the region and provide local employment opportunities during construction and operation. The project will generate enough energy to power close to 1,000 NSW homes.

 

"This will enable a regional community to participate through the purchase of power from our not-for-profit scheme and support local jobs." said Repower Shoalhaven spokesperson, Robert Hayward.

 

The city has already reduced electricity usage by 26 per cent since 2006 by investing in energy efficiency initiatives, resulting in significant savings for ratepayers.

 

Projects including replacement of 6,500 city-owned street lights with LEDs, saving $800,000 a year in electricity costs and reducing carbon emissions by 2,400 tonnes a year and installation of solar panels on more than 30 of its office buildings, pools, libraries and community centres. It plans to have more than 7,800 solar panels generating power for its buildings by mid-2021.

 

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