Waverley’s Community Net Zero Emissions Target Brought Forward

Waverley Council community net zero emissions

Sydney’s Waverley Council has adopted an ambitious new community greenhouse gas emissions target of achieving net zero 15 years earlier than previously.

Last year, Council committed to bringing forward a net zero carbon emissions target for its own operations by 20 years, to 2030. All going as hoped, the community won’t be far behind – achieving the same by 2035.

“2050 is way too off in the future and doesn’t align with the latest scientific research which shows that global temperatures are rising and there’s an urgent need to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mayor Paula Masselos.

Mayor Masselos stated electricity makes up 60% of the community’s main emission sources, so encouraging and supporting the installation of solar panels on homes and businesses would seem to be a no-brainer move.

When we last checked in with what was happening on the rooftop solar front in some parts of the LGA, the Waverley/Bronte postcode area had seen around 380 installations by the end of June 2021, and 557 in the Bondi postcode area. By the end of last year – 6 months later – those numbers had increased to 419 and 630 systems respectively.

That is reasonable progress in a short space of time, but there are still a lot of rooftops across the Waverley local government area not making good use of valuable rooftop real estate. The Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI) estimates just 13.6% of freestanding and semi-detached dwellings have had panels installed as at the end of last year, compared to 27.2% across New South Wales.

Council has requested a report with costed actions be prepared indicating how it can support and enable the community to achieve the net zero by 2035 target. The report is to contain information on potential activities such as boosting solar power system installations on Waverley houses, strata and businesses and other strategies for decarbonising the grid.

Leading by example could be a good way to go as well. As far as I’m aware, the organisation doesn’t have much in the way of solar installed on its own assets, but…

Council Operations Target Progress

It’s one thing to announce a target and quite another to achieve it. But Waverley Council moved much closer towards theirs in one fell swoop recently.

The organisation is among the customers in a Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) brokered deal that will see more than 214 gigawatt hours of renewables-based electricity delivered to 25 councils across New South Wales per year. Most of the participants will be sourcing 100% of their electricity from renewables under this arrangement, and Waverley is among them.

This electricity, which will be supplied by Moree, Hillston and Nevertire Solar Farms, will power Waverley’s eight major facilities, 45 smaller sites and thousands of streetlights. The agreement kicks off this year and runs to 2026; with an option to extend to 2030.

As well as a significant emissions reduction associated with the supply, SSROC President John Faker noted the councils scored a pretty good deal – at the same or lower cost than their existing contracts for traditional  power.

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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