All operations in Sydney, Australia - including street lights, pools, sports fields, depots, buildings and the historic Sydney Town Hall - are now run on 100% renewable electricity from locally-sourced clean energy.
The switch is expected to save up to half a million dollars a year over the next 10 years. It will reduce carbon emissions by around 20,000 tonnes a year - or the power used by 6,000 average households. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Energy Harvesting Microwatt to Gigawatt: Opportunities 2020-2040.
Sydney sources renewable energy from 3 different generators - the Bomen Solar Farm in Wagga Wagga, Sapphire Wind Farm near Inverell and the Shoalhaven solar farm in Nowra.
The green energy switch was made using a power purchase agreement with Australian retailer, Flow Power. Valued at over $60 million, it's the biggest agreement of its kind by a council in Australia. The new agreement will generate jobs, support communities impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and create new opportunities in drought-affected regional NSW. Around three-quarters of the power will be wind-generated, and remaining will be solar.
The Shoalhaven project is being developed by Flow Power in partnership with local community group Repower Shoalhaven, a not for profit volunteer community enterprise that develops community solar projects. When finished, the 3-megawatt solar farm will have around 10,000 panels and generate enough energy to power 1,500 homes.
Speaking on behalf of Repower Shoalhaven, member Bob Hayward said the power purchase agreement will directly support the regional community. "Shoalhaven solar farm could not have become operational without the City of Sydney's investment. By partnering with this project, we're creating local jobs and helping the renewables sector grow," Bob Hayward said. "The City of Sydney's decision to include a regional community-based scheme brings us a step closer to a sustainable decarbonised future, while also supporting regional investment and employment. We congratulate the City of Sydney for this significant commitment."
Owned by the Australian-listed company, Spark Infrastructure, the 120MW Bomen Solar Farm has more than 310,000 solar panels on 250 hectares of land. It's one of the first projects in Australia to use bi-facial panels that absorb sunlight on both sides, with tracking technology that shifts each panel throughout the day to capture the sun's energy.
Spark Infrastructure Chief Executive Rick Francis said the new deal would see regional communities playing an increasingly critical role in the state's energy supply.
"This project has not only delivered clean energy for Australia's largest city, but represents a significant investment in the Wagga Wagga community and Riverina region, anchoring the region's role as a future renewable energy hub for NSW."
The Sapphire Wind Farm near Inverell is the largest wind farm in NSW, with a 270MW capacity generated by 75 turbines that stand 200 metres high. Partly owned by CWP Renewables, CEO Jason Willoughby said the company is proud to support our renewables program. "Wind is a natural energy choice providing a much needed alternative to fossil fuels. We hope this inspires other councils and organisations to follow the City of Sydney's lead," Jason Willoughby said. "The Sapphire Wind Farm produces enough clean energy to power 115,000 homes and displaces 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, while bringing economic benefits to the local NSW New England region and the ACT."
Source and top image: City of Sydney