The City of Sydney is set to further slash its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by using 100 per cent renewable energy to meet its electricity needs.
The renewables commitment endorsed by Council is expected to see the City’s operations cut emissions by around 18,000 tonnes a year – equivalent to the power consumption of around 4,000 households.
The City will purchase power from 100 per cent renewable energy generated by wind or solar PV to power its larger sites and offset the carbon emissions in the electricity used at small sites.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the decision follows intense efforts by the City to reduce energy consumption and emissions.
“Acting on climate change is the City’s top priority. We were among the first to set science-based targets in 2008 and since then we’ve reduced our emissions by 20 per cent on 2005 levels,” she said.
“This decision by Council will allow us to achieve our commitment to reduce emissions by 70 per cent, 10 years ahead of our own 2030 deadline, well on the way to net-zero by 2050.”
The City was the first local government in Australia to achieve carbon neutral certification in 2011 and is part of the C40, a network of 94 of the world’s largest cities, representing more than 700 million people worldwide.
The Lord Mayor, who has recently returned from the C40 Women4Climate Conference stated that cities play a crucial role in addressing climate change.
“For too long, our state and federal governments have failed to take action to address accelerating climate change. That’s why cities must lead the way.”
“We’ve reduced our own emissions and continue to work with our business community through the Better Buildings Partnership. This successful program has assisted members to save $33 million a year on power costs and reduce their emissions by 52 per cent since 2001, well over halfway to their 2030 target of a 70 per cent reduction,” the Lord Mayor commented.
The City of Sydney reduced its emissions by 25 per cent compared to the 2006 baseline of 52,970 tonnes in 2018.
It is now on track to achieve a further 10,000 tonnes of direct reductions through efficiency initiatives over the next five years.
The City has also reduced electricity usage by 26 per cent since 2006 by investing in energy efficiency initiatives, resulting in significant savings for ratepayers.
Some projects that were involved include:
- The replacement of 6,500 street lights with LEDs, saving $800,000 a year in energy costs and reduced carbon emissions by 2,400 tonnes a year.
- Alexandra Canal Depot in Alexandria is powered by 1,600 solar panels and has the state’s first utility-installed Tesla battery. The battery can store up to 500-kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to meet the daily needs of around 50 homes and equivalent to the storage capacity of 50,000 mobile phone batteries.
- The City has partnered with Ausgrid to fast-track the upgrade of 9,500 utility-owned street lights to LED. The switch will save 3,500 tonnes of carbon each year, equivalent to the electricity used to power 3,000 households, and around $1 million in annual maintenance and energy costs.
- The City has installed 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.