In 2017 Council’s Carbon Abatement Action Plan (CAAP) was adopted to identify and implement projects that demonstrate reduced carbon emissions as well as reduced operational costs. So far we have seen a considerable reduction in our operational emissions since 2015.
CAAP projects approved for 2019-2020
The majority of projects for the current year involve energy upgrades. These are:
- Replacement of old inefficient lighting with LED’s across street lights and Council facilities; and
- Installation of 289 kW of roof top solar panels across a number of Council facilities.
The largest of these projects is the upgrade of 2,781 streetlights to LEDs. Each new bulb achieves an immediate 79% energy reduction, resulting in a 645 tonne reduction of Council’s CO2 emissions per year. The emissions savings are equivalent to taking nearly 100 homes off the grid, or over 250 cars off the road each year.
The CAAP also identified internal projects to assist with achieving less carbon emissions in the future. These include:
- An off-site Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)
Council is currently reviewing the possibility of joining other Western Sydney Councils to enter into a renewable energy PPA. PPA’s allow organisations to purchase renewable energy directly from an energy generator instead of from a retailer. Dealing direct with the clean energy supplier would significantly increase our investment into renewables and reduce our current exposure to energy cost fluctuations.
- Sustainable transport
Council is working with the Western Sydney Region of Councils (WSROC) on sustainable transport opportunities. It is also reviewing barriers and opportunities for including electric vehicles within Council fleet, including discussions with third parties on community charge stations.
The initial target for the CAAP was to achieve a 20% reduction in carbon emissions by 2022. This has already been exceeded and replaced with a stretch target of 30%. A new landfill gas capture system at Blaxland RRWMF and the introduction of our residential green bin service are the main reasons for the significant reduction in Council emissions since 2015.