Waverley, Randwick and Woollahra councils have all confirmed that they will be using 100 per cent renewable energy for their local facilities from July 1 this year, as part of a landmark $180 million, 25-council deal that was announced last week.
The deal, which was brokered by the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC), will provide electricity to participating councils from three state-based solar farms, with 19 of the councils opting for 100 per cent renewable energy.
The three eastern suburbs councils have all elected to use 100 per cent renewables in their electricity portfolio from July, with Randwick Council estimating that the deal would save approximately 7,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, delivering on their 100 per cent renewable energy goal three years ahead of schedule.
Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos said that the renewable energy sources would power eight major facilities in the area, 45 smaller sites and thousands of streetlights, adding that the agreement would help to meet the targets designated in council’s environmental planning.
Waverley Council last year fasttracked their net-zero carbon emissions target to 2030, after identifying their original 2050 net-zero goal as “too long in the future”, with Cr Masselos saying that “urgent action was required”.
“Council will be able to meet the new target by purchasing the 100 per cent renewable energy, phasing out gas and switching to electric vehicles, whilst ensuring ongoing energy efficiencies,” Cr Masselos said.
In the Waverley Environmental Action Plan, changing the council’s energy mix to establish a lower carbon footprint was regarded as “an opportunity with the falling prices of renewable power”. One of council’s key climate and energy deliverables in the report was to “collaborate with other councils and stakeholders to increase the proportion of cost effective renewable electricity purchased by council”.
Randwick Mayor Dylan Parker said that electricity usage accounted for 60 per cent of council operation’s total greenhouse gas emissions, calling the deal a “significant step in reducing our emissions as we transition to net-zero emissions”, adding that it showed the “collective power of local government to work together to deliver real savings and sustainability benefits for our communities”.
According to the SSROC, 83 per cent of the councils’ total electricity supply will be covered by solar farms in Moree, Hillston and Nevertire, with the agreement to run until 2026 and an option to extend until 2030.
The participating councils, which also includes the City of Sydney and Inner West Council, represent almost three million people, or almost 38 per cent of the NSW population.