Kempsey Cranking On Climate Action With Power Partnership

Kempsey Council Power Partnership

New South Wales’ Kempsey Shire Council has announced it has joined the ranks of the Cities Power Partnership (CPP), a collaborative network of local governments across Australia dedicated to combating climate change and achieving a zero-emissions future.

Kempsey Shire is a local government area in the Mid North Coast region of New South Wales that covers an area of 3,380 square kilometres and is home to around 30,000 people.

Jessica Marsh, Council’s Sustainability Officer, explained the importance of the organisation’s involvement in the Partnership.

“As a member of the Cities Power Partnership, we receive greater support and tools to help us contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable future for our Shire,” said Ms. Marsh.

Membership means Kempsey Shire Council will have better access to a broader network of councils working together to reduce emissions and address climate change more effectively.

Power Partnership Pledges

Like all other CPP members and as part of its commitment to the partnership, Kempsey Shire Council has made five pledges:

  • Install renewable energy (solar panels and battery storage) on council buildings.
  • Roll out energy-efficient lighting across the Shire.
  • Create a green revolving energy fund to finance energy efficiency projects1.
  • Supporting the local community in developing capacity and skills to tackle climate change.
  • Develop a procurement policy ensuring contractors and financers align with the council’s renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable transport goals.

Council will be required to report its progress on these pledges. Upon completion of each action, a new pledge is to be added to build on Council’s efforts.

Solar Panel Pledge And PV Progress

Councils across Australia have reaped the rewards of installing solar panels; not just as a way of reducing electricity related emissions, but also cutting energy costs.

While there are already a bunch of solar installations in Kempsey as a result of community uptake, Council is really only just getting started on its own PV journey. Last month we reported on the recent installation of a 99 kW solar power system at the Slim Dusty Centre, along with two electric vehicle charging stations at the facility.

Aside from the Slim Dusty Centre, I was previously only aware of one other installation on Council assets – a 50kW system at the Kempsey Shire Council Depot. However, Council’s CCP member page indicates it has 2 x 99kW solar PV systems at two sites.

It turns out another 99.9kW commercial solar system was installed at Council’s Civic Centre on Tozer Street last year (pictured above). It’s estimated this system alone will save Council more than $26,000 annually in energy costs and achieve payback in around 4 years.

A total tally of ~250kW is a really good start. No doubt there’s significant opportunity to rack up a bunch more panels and really pump up capacity; providing benefits for the planet and ratepayer’s pockets.

Further details on the Cities Power Partnership, which boasts a membership of more than 180 local governments, can be viewed here.

Footnotes

  1. A Revolving Energy Fund (REF) is a self-perpetuating financial instrument. An REF is initiated with seed capital invested in various sustainability initiatives, such as energy efficiency. The savings generated from these projects are reinvested into the fund, financing subsequent rounds of investments.
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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