City News

City report shows it’s not easy being Green

BY CHRISTOPHER HARRIS

At the council meeting of March 21. Labor Councillor Linda Scott called on the City of Sydney to develop a fully costed plan to meet sustainability targets

Her motion, which was voted down, aimed to address the current projection that the City will fall about 600,000 tonnes of carbon short of its 2030 emissions reduction targets.

Clr Scott told City Hub that it was critical that Lord Mayor Clover Moore came on board with her calls for renewable energy.

“They have again voted to prevent the City of Sydney taking action to ensure we meet our carbon emission reduction targets,” she said.

She said by voting against the move, the council had either said we are not meeting our targets, or, it is somebody else’s responsibility.

Clr Scott said that the trigeneration scheme which had been adopted by the council was “problematic” . She said that to meet targets, the City’s trigeneration scheme would need to save three times as much carbon as it currently offsets.

Released in February, the City’s latest Green report card reveals that the city is falling behind and must reduce its carbon emissions by 70 per cent by 2030 if it is to meet its aims.

Currently, the City’s policy has the aim of getting one hundred per cent of its energy from locally generated sources, 70 per cent of which would be from trigeneration plants, and 30 per cent from renewable energy such as solar.

Trigeneration plants are typically installed in a buidling, and uses gas to produce low carbon electricity, which creates heat which is then used for heating.

Clr Scott said the City was acquiring more new buildings and assets which made reducing carbon more challenging.

“To reach the 70 per cent reduction target, the City needs to find a way to account for 689,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, but currently we have no plan on how to do this,” said Linda Scott.

“The City needs to drastically re-think its strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Clr Scott said.

She said there was a need to investigate installing more solar panels on the City’s buildings – including the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre,  an idea which got voted down by the Mayor last year.

A spokesperson for the City said the reason for that was  designer Harry Seidler and Associates Architecture objected to the installation of the panels on the building because of their appearance. The spokesperson said the architect’s moral rights’ protect the design.

Under Australian law, any alteration to a structure without the architect’s consent could amount to what is known as derogatory conduct. If such conduct is established, an architect can disassociate themselves from the project, which, could in turn reduce the value of it.

Greens Clr Irene Doutney told City Hub that the City should learn lessons from other cities abroad.

“The CEO is going to do a review of the gap and we will need to wait for that, so we can reassess how to meet our targets,”

But the City spokesperson said the City was making “strong progress toward our targets”.

“We are installing one of the largest rooftop solar programs in Australia on our majoring buildings. Panels have been installed on 26 of 30 city buildings so far. It will supply 12.5 per cent of power to our buildings.”

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