Wollongong City Council has made the decision to participate in a joint tender for a large-scale, renewable generation power purchase agreement (PPA), helping the Council to meet its goal of net zero emissions by 2030.
This type of agreement is important for the Council because it will lead to a reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions of almost 15,000 tonnes of CO2-e per annum.
This energy will be used for Council services and operations such as streetlights, and large energy consumption sites, such as leisure centres, pools, community centres and libraries.
Improving environmental sustainability is a key goal in the City’s community-led strategic plan Wollongong 2028, and was an outcome outlined in the Council’s Climate Change Mitigation Plan 2020.
Wollongong City Lord Mayor, Gordon Bradbery AM, said that signing the agreement is a great opportunity for Wollongong Council to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
“A renewable energy PPA is where a buyer, such as a council, purchases renewable energy from either a retailer or energy generator for a specified price rate and timeframe, usually 8-12 years,” Cr Bradbery said.
“These types of arrangement usually last for longer periods of time as this provides the electricity supplier with a level of certainty so that they can fund the construction of renewable energy infrastructure to meet the energy needs of the buyer.”
PPAs can work in different ways depending on the type of agreement and this means that energy can be purchased from a combination of different types of renewable sources such as solar farms, wind farms and hydroelectricity.
Wollongong City Council will join with other participating NSW councils in putting out a tender through Procurement Australia for this large-scale renewable generation power purchase agreement.
The arrangement will help Wollongong City Council work towards achieving adopted targets of net zero emissions by 2050 for the City of Wollongong and net zero emissions by 2030 for Council operations.
“This approach has many benefits beyond just the obvious ones for our environment,” Cr Bradbery said.
“Renewable PPAs can often be a more cost-effective energy option. It’s a real win for Council as it means that we will be reducing our environmental footprint while also using our community’s money wisely.”
This isn’t the only way the Council is working to reach net-zero emissions. At the same time, it’s nearing the end of works to install solar panels on the roof of the Council’s Stewart Street multi-storey carpark.
The panels will be supported on new steel frames which also serve as vehicle shade structures. Construction work is anticipated to finish by mid-July 2021.
“Council is setting the pace when it comes to sustainable buildings and this project is another way we’re working to improve the sustainability of Council assets,” Cr Bradbery said.
“The Council Administration Building already has a six Green Star rating, which is the highest rating a building can achieve from the Green Building Council of Australia.
“The new solar panels will provide renewable energy to be used to reduce the maximum energy demand of the Administration building.”