More Solar Panels On The Cards For Kempsey Shire Council

Kempsey Shire Council - solar energy

Image: Google Maps

A bunch of solar panels could be appearing at various Kempsey Shire Council sites in the not-too-distant future after Council’s adoption of a Long-term Renewable Energy and Water Strategy.

The Kempsey Shire local government area is situated in the mid north coast region of New South Wales. Covering an area of 3,380 square kilometres, the Shire is home to around 20,000.

Council joined the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) Sustainable Councils and Communities Program in February this year and subsequently engaged 100% Renewables to assist in the development of a long-term strategy, which was adopted at a Council meeting yesterday.

Actions in the Strategy include:

  • Sourcing more renewables-based electricity – based on Council’s current energy mix, purchasing 100% renewables would lead to abatement of 6,559 tonnes of CO2-e annually.
  • Installing more solar panels at Council operated sites. These could include Council’s Civic Centre, Steuart McIntyre Dam & WTP, South West Rocks Water Treatment Plant and various other locations.
  • Implementing an electric and hybrid vehicle trial and investigating electric vehicle charging infrastructure. If all Council vehicles were electrified and charged with renewables-based electricity, this would provide additional abatement of 1,923t CO2-e per year.
  • Investing in data management systems to enable energy monitoring and inform decision making.

The Strategy offers short-, medium- and long-term solutions, with solar PV featuring in each. It notes Council-operated sites have scope for ~650-860 kW of solar power capacity, which could generate 1,050 MWh to 1,400 MWh of electricity per year. There’s also an additional 90 to 160 kW of solar capacity technically feasible at tourist parks and swimming pools.

Kempsey Shire Council’s Long-term Renewable Energy and Water Strategy can be viewed here.

“While Council is not solely responsible for implementing actions to reduce carbon emissions for the entire Shire, Council has a leadership role to play in looking at its own practices to reduce energy emissions where possible,” said Manager Strategic and Asset Planning, Erin Fuller.

Solar Energy In Kempsey Shire

Council doesn’t have much in the way of solar capacity yet – 50kW on its Dangar Street Depot installed in 2013 – but PV is pretty popular across the LGA. The Strategy notes 4,004 systems as at September 2020, representing almost 17.7MW of installed capacity. In the 2440 postcode, which includes Kempsey, more than 2,843 solar systems had been installed with a collective capacity of 13.5MW as at the end of August.

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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