Tweed Shire Council’s Wind/Solar Energy PPA Kicks In

Tweed Shire Council solar energy

New South Wales’ Tweed Shire Council has commenced a 10-year Power Purchase Agreement that will see more than half its electricity for larger sites being generated by wind and solar farms.

The PPA, which was established with Flow Power, involves supply from Sapphire Wind Farm situated near Glenn Innes, and Bomen Solar Farm near Wagga Wagga.

“We have taken the lead from other large organisations, such as the Sydney Opera House and Newcastle City Council, who similarly signed these agreements, which will greatly assist our nation transform from a reliance on brown energy to energy sources such as wind and solar,” said Mayor of Tweed Cr Chris Cherry.

On-Site Solar Power Rollout Continues

Tweed Shire Council has also been busy installing solar panels on its own facilities, with 800kW of on-site solar power capacity in place and a further 750kW to be installed during the current financial year. Among its existing installations is a 165kW solar array at the Tweed Regional Aquatic Centre (TRAC) in Murwillumbah and a 99kW ground and roof mounted system at Bray Park Water Treatment Plant (pictured above).

Back in 2017, Council resolved to source 25 per cent of its electricity from self-generated solar energy by 2022 and potentially half its needs from solar and batteries by 2025.

Other energy related projects including replacing existing streetlights with LED lights – expected to reduce street lighting electricity consumption by more than half – will take Council towards its goals of a 25 per cent reduction in electricity-related carbon emissions by 2022 and a 50 per cent reduction by 2025.

At its 19 September 2019 Council meeting, Tweed Shire Council declared a climate emergency and it is also a member of the Cities Power Partnership. Its recently adopted new Climate Change Policy sets a goal for the organisation to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Solar power isn’t just helping to reduce Council’s emissions, but its electricity bills too – which is also good news for ratepayers. Council’s 22GWh/pa electricity consumption was previously costing around $5 million annually.

The Tweed Shire community has also been getting into PV in a big way, with more than 30% of households using solar panels according to Council – the NSW proportion is 23% (Source: APVI). In Murwillumbah, which has a population of around 17,000, more than 3,852 small-scale PV systems had been installed by the end of August this year.

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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