The City of Sydney has unveiled a $60 million renewable energy plan that would see council meet all its electricity needs from wind and solar power.
Renewable electricity – with 75 per cent coming from wind and 25 per cent from solar – will power all council-owned properties from July 1, 2020, including pools, libraries, playing fields, depots and Sydney Town Hall.
Council’s 100 per cent renewable electricity commitment is projected to save up to $500,000 a year over the next 10 years, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore announced on Tuesday.
Council has committed to buying the renewable electricity from the 270 megawatt Sapphire Wind Farm near Glenn Innes, the 120-megawatt Bomen Solar Farm near Wagga Wagga and a not-for-profit, community-owned solar scheme near Nowra.
Ms Moore said the new agreement with energy company Flow Power would generate jobs, support the state’s drought-stricken regional areas and cut emissions.
“Today’s announcement is the biggest standalone renewables commitment for an Australian council,” Ms Moore told reporters.
“The science is clear – without urgent, coordinated and global action to reduce emissions in the next decade we face a very high risk of triggering runaway climate change.”
The lord mayor said the commitment would result in a cut in emissions of around 20,000 tonnes per year – equivalent to the power consumption of 8000 local households.
She said Sydney had been certified carbon neutral since 2011 but would now achieve its commitment to reduce emissions by 70 per cent six years ahead of its 2030 deadline.
Ms Moore also called on the federal government to reintroduce a price on carbon and to establish a body that could ensure Australians employed in fossil fuel industries find alternate employment.
Flow Power chief executive Matthew van der Linden said Sydney’s commitment to buy electricity from renewable plants was an important step in Australia’s transition to a low-carbon future.