Environment & Sustainability
Renewable Energy Action Plan
In August 2018, Council’s Clean Energy Committee recommended that Council formulate a Renewable Energy Action Plan (REAP), including a renewable energy target and an emissions reduction target, a recommendation which Council adopted. The finalised REAP was adopted by Council on 24 April 2019.
The Plan considers three ways of moving Council to using more renewable energy and producing less carbon emissions.
The first way is to improve energy efficiency in Council’s operations. Suggested measures include upgrading lighting (including street lighting) to LED, and purchasing more energy efficient equipment (air conditioning, water and sewer pumps and aerators, for example) at suitable times. Short, medium and long term actions are detailed, including expected costs and savings.
The second way is onsite renewable energy actions, that is, to install solar panels on suitable Council facilities. A large number of facilities were examined, and, again, short, medium and long term actions are outlined, together with expected costs and savings.
The final way is to look at investing in offsite renewable energy options, that is, entering into a power purchase agreement (PPA). This sort of PPA would involve Council agreeing to purchase electricity from a renewable energy site, eg a large scale solar or wind farm somewhere else in NSW. It is recommended in the plan that this begin in the medium term and only commence when renewables can be sourced at the same or less cost that “standard” power via Council’s normal procurement processes.
This final step will enable Council to purchase renewable energy to offset those Council sites where the installation of onsite renewables is not practical.
Additionally, the Plan contains suggested renewable energy and carbon emission targets.
If all the actions of the Plan are implemented, then Council can realistically set a target of using 60% renewable energy for electricity by 2030. A medium term target of 30% renewable energy for electricity can be achieved by 2023-2024.
If these targets of 60% by 2030 and 30% by 2023-2024 are achieved, then Council would reduce carbon emissions from electricity by 70% in the long term and 40% in the short term.
All targets and actions will be regularly reviewed in the light of technological advances and changes in the electricity marketplace.
The Plan provides an excellent starting point and road map for Council to consult and follow as it seeks to “provide community leadership in sustainable energy use” (Nambucca Shire Council 2027 Community Strategic Plan Strategy 1.1).
The Plan will inform the preparation of future operational plans and budgets without being prescriptive, that is, actions do not need to be undertaken within set, immovable time frames. Future developments in technology will be examined and incorporated into the plan’s recommendations.
The Office of Environment and Heritage will work with Council to provide assistance in implementing the Plan. Whilst the Sustainable Councils and Communities program cannot directly fund solar panels or other energy efficiency measures, they will assist with preparing tender documents, sourcing grants and rebates and assessing quotes provided to Council.
For more information, call Lisa Hall, Council’s Technical Officer Development & Environment on 6568 0228.
Local Adaptations Pathways Program