Mildura Council Driving Emissions Reduction With Renewables And EVs

Mildura - Renewables and electric vehicles

Victoria’s Mildura Rural City Council has taken delivery of three electric vehicles that will be charged using 100% renewable energy.

While the brands and models weren’t mentioned, it looks like the Mayor’s vehicle (pictured above) is a Kia Niro, which according to Kia has a range of 455 kilometres (WLTP – World harmonised Light vehicle Testing Procedure). A crossover SUV, the Niro boasts a 64kWh battery, 150kW of power and 395Nm of torque.

Councillor for Environment and Sustainability Jodi Reynolds said the new locally-purchased EVs would slash running and maintenance costs while driving down emissions. Council’s fleet of vehicles has a significant carbon footprint, representing approximately 25% of the organisation’s overall emissions excluding landfill.

The electricity required to charge the vehicles will be sourced from 100% renewables after Council’s recent inclusion in the Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO). Mildura and 45 other Victorian councils pooled their electricity buying power in a long-term contract with Red Energy supplying renewable energy generated from wind farms in the state. This arrangement is not only slashing emissions, but reducing participants’ electricity costs.

Charging stations for the new EVs have been installed at Council’s Deakin and Madden Avenue service centres, and there are also public charging stations in the region that can be used. Just recently, Ouyen’s EV fast charging station became operational and Ms. Reynolds notes there are now 23 public EV fast chargers across 21 cities and towns in regional Victoria.

“This network of fast chargers means there are charging points every 100 kilometres between Mildura and Melbourne.”

Mentioning a recently published report outlining climate costs and risks to councils, Mildura Mayor Jason Modica said all levels of government need to boost climate action and reduce emissions this decade.

 “Fortunately, we’re well on the way to doing that, and this week’s announcements are the latest in a broad suite of measures and actions we’ve taken as a Council to do our part,” he said.

Council declared a climate emergency in February 2020, adopted its Towards Zero Emissions Strategy 2021-2050 in June this year and established a Community Action Group in July that is working with Council to develop a community climate emergency plan.

Solar Energy In Mildura

Mildura Rural City Council’s renewable energy isn’t confined to the VECO deal –  so far more than 600 kilowatts of solar PV has been installed on Council buildings, with further installations to come.

In addition to Council’s efforts on the PV front, the tally of small-scale solar power systems in Mildura continues to rise as more households and businesses install panels.

More than 3,621 small-scale systems had been installed by the end of August this year, up from ~3,300 at the end of January. If you live in the area and want to slash your own electricity bills (and your household’s carbon emissions), have a chat to one of these SQ-recommended solar installers in Mildura.

There are also more than a dozen large-scale (100kW+) solar installations in the Mildura Rural City LGA, the largest by far being Kiamal Solar Farm. Situated approximately 3 km north of the township of Ouyen, stage 1 of the project is 200 MW (AC)/ 256 MW (DC) capacity and comprised of 720,000 Canadian Solar panels.

Stage 2 of the development will add a further 150 MW (AC)/ 194 MW (DC) capacity, and there’s also a 50 MW/50 MWh battery storage facility in the pipeline.

Kiamal Solar Farm is supplying thirteen of Victoria’s water corporations with cheap, clean electricity as part of a deal made in 2019.

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.

Comments

  1. George Kaplan says

    I remain an EV skeptic but there was an interesting news piece the other day: https://www.news.com.au/technology/motoring/motoring-news/safety-second-for-volvos-polestar-electric-spinoff/news-story/3dcccf9fec1e195098aa70da28ff39c2

    The Polestar 2 has a range of 440 km and retails for $59,900 plus on-road costs. It’s unclear how that compares to rivals, though the Tesla Model 3 comes in at $61,425 plus on-roads, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 at $71,900. A fully loaded Polestar 2 with all the trimmings however comes in at $88,900 plus on-road costs. Sadly it’s still Chinese built, same as the Tesla 3.

    Note that a Toyota Corolla comes in at roughly $29,000 and has a range of roughly 800 km meaning the Polestar 2 is twice the price for half the performance, whilst having access to far fewer ‘refueling’ stations.

    On the plus side it is interesting to see how the technology is slowly progressing, though it still appears to be largely limited to the very wealthy, radical environmentalists, and government\taxpayer funded fleets.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Tesla 3s made in China have a lower defect rate than the ones made in the US. The main reason why is, of course, because the Shanghai factory is new and Tesla has learned by doing.

    • Geoff Miell says

      George Kaplan,
      You state: “Note that a Toyota Corolla comes in at roughly $29,000 and has a range of roughly 800 km meaning the Polestar 2 is twice the price for half the performance, whilst having access to far fewer ‘refueling’ stations.

      Based on the indicators I see, I’d be more concerned about whether there will be adequate/affordable petrol, diesel and LPG fuel supplies available for internal combustion engine (ICE) private vehicles to use beyond the next few years. I’d suggest vehicles with an ICE will become undesirable/worthless when the fuel they use inevitably becomes increasingly scarcer and more unaffordable – see my comments at: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/tesla-model-3-review/#comment-1232929

      Per ABS, as at 31 Jan 2021, there were 20.1 million registered motor vehicles in Australia. 71.7% of the national fleet used petrol, and 26.4% of all registered vehicles used diesel. There were 23 thousand electric vehicle registrations.
      https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/industry/tourism-and-transport/motor-vehicle-census-australia/latest-release

      I’d suggest petroleum oil/fuel scarcity can easily disrupt Australia’s transport system if Australia doesn’t rapidly reduce its petroleum-dependency. Some scarcity can be enough to become very destabilizing. There’s no doubt the scale of the transition required is vast, and the clock’s ticking.

      Per a Knight Frank report titled NSW Service Stations Insight published in Feb 2017:

      Through industry amalgamations, the rationalisation of sites and a larger volume of fuel being sold from each site (at the expense of sites in secondary locations), the number of petrol stations in operation within Australia has declined to approximately 6,400, down from 8,370 in 2000 and around 20,000 in the 1970s.

      https://content.knightfrank.com/research/902/documents/en/resinsight170228-4493.pdf

      Per the ACCC’s Report on the Australian petroleum market: March quarter 2021 (on page 64, bold text my emphasis):

      At 30 June 2020, there were around 7,700 retail fuel sites in Australia, which operate under a range of business models.[72] The variety of business models and ownership structures mean that there are different pricing strategies and offerings among retail sites, as well as different capital structures and cost bases.

      https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/Quarterly%20report%20on%20the%20Australian%20petroleum%20market%20-%20March%20quarter%202021.pdf

      To charge a BEV, any ‘bog standard’ 10- or 15-amp AC general power outlet (GPO) can provide Level 1 charging. I’d suggest almost every residence and business in Australia has these, delivering around 10-20km of range per hour when plugged in. But it’s not recommended if you are in a hurry to get to somewhere else.

      Level 2 charging provides AC inputs up to 7 kW, delivering around 40 km of range per hour when plugged in, adequate for fully charging overnight at home or a few hours top-up at a public ‘chargepoint’ at a shopping centre, carpark, etc. More than enough for most people’s daily use.

      Level 3 charging provides DC inputs ranging from 25 to 350 kW, adding about 150 km range per hour at the low-end charging rate, to fully recharging in tens of minutes at the high-end rate.

      There are approximately 2,500 public charging stations in Australia, but that number continues to grow. And Tesla also have their own network of charging stations.
      https://www.carsguide.com.au/ev/advice/ev-charging-stations-in-australia-explained-83987

      • George Kaplan says

        Geoff, I considered addressing petrol stations v electric recharging stations but decided to skip it. Since you’ve raised it however, there are 2 petrol stations roughly 5 minutes down the road from me, each of which receives
        heavy heavy use,

        By contrast there is allegedly one ‘nearby’ electric recharging point, but it’s not in my area, nor on a main road, but rather hidden away at a green area way down a side street. Odds are said recharge point is simply a bog standard outlet such as you mention – I’ve not felt the need to track it down and check what kind it is, assuming it wasn’t actually a recharging map error.

        I’m naturally quite comfortable relying on traditional options ’til at least the end of the decade.

        I actually agree that Australia is dangerously dependent on imported petrol, but likely not for the same reason as you. Where I suspect you think petrol will run out or be forced out by climate change action, my concern is warmongering by Beijing and a dangerous reliance on Singapore for refining and imported fuel. Strategic vulnerability versus activist concerns.

        • Geoff Miell says

          George Kaplan,
          You state: “ Since you’ve raised it however, there are 2 petrol stations roughly 5 minutes down the road from me, each of which receives heavy heavy use,

          There are four fuel stations within about 5 minutes from me (and another two within about 10 minutes), but there are also two public EV fast-chargers.

          Fuel/energy stations are only useful if they have adequate fuel/energy being offered for supply at affordable prices.

          You state: “I’m naturally quite comfortable relying on traditional options ’til at least the end of the decade.

          The evidence/indicators I see suggests you are likely to be very disappointed/shocked. IMO, the timeframe is likely to be much shorter for disruptive global petroleum fuel scarcity.

          You state: “I actually agree that Australia is dangerously dependent on imported petrol, but likely not for the same reason as you.

          Without adequate diesel supplies, there are no trucks delivering petrol, diesel, and LPG to the fuel stations. Constrained fuel deliveries would soon disrupt Australia’s economic activity, similar to what happened in the UK in Sep 2000, but probably for very different reasons.

          Australia continues to import more finished diesel fuel, as Matt at CrudeOilPeak.info explored in his Sep 8 post:

          Australia’s monthly diesel imports reached a record of 2,360 ML (495 kb/d) in June 2021. While it is common for imports to vary from month to month there is a long term increasing trend. This is caused by diesel consumption on a continuing growth path while Australian refineries are shutting down.

          Figure 1 shows which countries Australia’s diesel imports have come from and indicate proportionally how much was supplied, from Jan 2004 through to Jun 2021. Singapore is a major supplier, but Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, and Brunei have also been significant suppliers. Matt says:

          Australia’s declining diesel imports from Japan and to a certain extend from South Korea have been replaced by imports from China, Taiwan and a brand new Chinese refinery in Brunei, thereby creating new dependencies in a concerning context:

          https://crudeoilpeak.info/australias-diesel-imports-on-record-high-update-june-2021

          You state: “Where I suspect you think petrol will run out or be forced out by climate change action…

          Things do not have to run out for their scarcity to become destabilising/disruptive – see my comments at: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/australia-solar-supply-mb2182/#comment-1250646

          Also see how Australia was so ill-prepared for fuel shortages during WW2: https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/journal/j36/petrol

          I was in the UK in Sep 2000 and experienced first-hand the consequences of strikes at UK fuel supply depots. The strike was eventually resolved and normal operations resumed. The lasting memory was how quickly and extensively the large-scale disruption manifested.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_protests_in_the_United_Kingdom

          Unfortunately, the evidence I see indicates disruptive global oil supply scarcity will arrive long before we actually run out of oil. ‘Peak oil’ is the end of abundant, cheap oil, and the beginning of increasingly scarcer and more unaffordable oil. I think we are likely now at this point.

          IMO, to mitigate Australia’s strategic energy security vulnerability, the sooner we end our petroleum dependency the more energy secure we will be. That will also substantially reduce our GHG emissions.

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