The City of Sydney has committed to using 100 per cent renewable energy to power its buildings and other infrastructure, in a move that will slash the council’s greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 18,000 tonnes a year – equivalent to the energy usage of about 4,000 households.
For the electricity that its solar panels can’t produce, the council says it has plans to ‘preference’ energy from community-generated sources, including wind and solar PV to power larger sites, and for smaller sites, it will carbon offset its electricity usage.
Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, said the decision will put the council on track to reduce its emissions to net-zero by 2050 – a deadline that is self-imposed.
“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.
“The City’s strong economic position and the money we’ve saved by investing in energy efficiency allows us to act responsibly by committing to 100 per cent renewable energy.”
The council says it has also taken initiative to assist its building members to reduce emissions and save millions of dollars a year on power costs.
“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 City of Sydney has already reduced its electricity usage by 26 per cent since 2006 through investing in energy-efficiency initiatives. These include:
- Installing solar panels on more than 30 of its office buildings, pools, libraries and other community centres.
- Replacing 6,500 street lights with LED’s, reducing carbon emissions by 2,400 tonnes a year and saving $800,000.
- Installing 1,600 solar panels and utility-installed Tesla batteries in the Alexandria Canal Depot.
The city council claims it’s on track to reduce its carbon emissions by a further 10,000 tonnes over the next five years, through even more energy-efficiency initiatives.