MidCoast Council Cranking On Renewables

MidCoast Council - solar energy

NSW’s MidCoast Council has signed a contract to power all its small water and sewer sites with 100 per cent renewable energy – and will save a bunch of bucks.

Council’s water and sewer assets represent around 80 per cent of its overall electricity usage. The organisation is already using solar energy on-site at a couple of water facilities – Tuncurry Recycled Water Treatment Plant (pictured above) and the Bulahdelah Water Treatment Plant.

While there’s more solar panels to come for Council’s Water Services assets, small electricity sites (sewer pump stations) will never support on- site renewables generation due to space constraints.

Council says the new contract will slash its emissions by 3,258 tonnes annually; around 13 per cent of Council’s Scope 2 emissions – those created from purchased energy. But as well as environmentally-speaking, it’s also a smart move financially; delivering annual savings of around $139,000.

MidCoast Council’s Climate Change Strategy adopted in 2021 commits to achieving 100% renewables and net zero greenhouse gas emissions for corporate operations by 2040.

“Achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions is a challenge that is going to require a range of solutions, but we’re excited to be taking these early steps,” said Council’s Director of Infrastructure and Engineering Services, Rob Scott. “From here our focus will turn to finding the most sustainable and financially viable ways to transition the rest of our operations to renewable energy.”

The company Council signed on with for green power supply wasn’t mentioned in the announcement, but digging back through minutes reveals it to be Shell Energy, which the organisation already has a relationship with. The period of the agreement is from 1 January 2023 to 30 June 2032.

In other recent renewables news from MidCoast Council, we mentioned last month Taree Waste Centre will soon have 75kW of solar panels and a battery system. Incorporating energy storage will enable the facility to keep operating in times of mains grid supply disruption. The project has been made possible thanks to $200,000 from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

Solar Energy In The MidCoast LGA

The MidCoast Council local government is located in the Mid North Coast region of New South Wales. Here’s how the region stacked up overall in terms of solar power installations according to the Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI) as at the end of June this year.

  • Estimated dwellings: 44,577
  • Solar panel installations: 17,355 (approx. 36.5% of freestanding and semi-detached dwellings)
  • Est. installed capacity: 89,033 kW
  • Under 10kW capacity: 67,829 kW (installations under 10kW: 16,251)
  • 10-100kW capacity: 20,742 kW (installations: 1102)
  • Over 100kW capacity: 462 kW (installations: 2)

A major population centre in the LGA is Taree, where solar panels are a very common sight. Just in the 2430 postcode area, more than 6,437 small-scale systems with a collective capacity of 34,187 kW had been installed  as at August 31, 2022. In Forster and Tuncurry, solar power is also very popular, with more than 4,160 small-scale systems installed in the 2428 postcode.

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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