Inner West Independent

Renewable energy goal unites local governments

Eight councils within the Southern Sydney Region of Councils group (SSROC) are currently working with local business and the community in formulating a new Renewable Energy Master Plan.

The Our Energy Future initiative aims to identify the most cost-effective and practical solutions to accelerate an uptake of renewable energy in the region. A series of workshops with community organisations will discuss clean energy options and innovative ways to fund such projects. The partner councils that are financially contributing to the project are Ashfield, Bankstown, Canada Bay, Canterbury, Kogarah, Leichhardt, Marrickville and Rockdale.

The initiative is driven by a number of renewable energy targets adopted by SSROC in May 2011. By 2030, member councils aim to be using a minimum of 30 per cent of energy from renewable sources.

A council spokesperson told The Inner West Independent there were great opportunities for communities to work together to reach these goals. However, many people are put off by the high initial investment costs.

“The Our Energy Future project is about exploring the different types of funding arrangements that can be the catalyst for broader uptake of renewable energy,” the spokesperson said.

“We are seeking to make it easier, more accessible, more affordable for council, businesses and the community.”

A key component of the initiative is networking within the community. This enables interested parties to form partnerships with other businesses and community organisations interested in exploring renewable energy options. Workshops will also be considering a number of innovative funding models, ranging from community and private investments to bulk buying traditionally expensive technologies.

Two consultations will be held at Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL: a community workshop on Sunday July 21 from 9.30am and a business workshop on Wednesday July 24 from 7.30am. The SSROC Renewable Energy Master Plan is expected for completion in 2013.

By Alisha Aitken-Radburn

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