Sydney and Newcastle councils’ renewables deals

The Cities of Sydney and Newcastle say their operations will be powered by renewable energy from 2020, actions that will both save money and reduce emissions, the councils said in separate announcements.

The City of Newcastle said it would make NSW history by becoming the first council to use 100 percent renewables for its needs, having signed an agreement to buy electricity from retailer Flow Power.

“From 1 January, the City will become the first local government in NSW to purchase enough renewable electricity to meet 100 per cent of our operational electricity requirements,” Newcastle Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes said.

“This means enough clean energy will be put into the grid to power every sportsground floodlight, local library, park barbecue and any other facility Council operates.

“Drawing all our energy needs from renewables is a significant achievement for the City and our mission to make our operations more sustainable and cost effective.”

Council, which in August resolved to switch to renewables after existing supply contracts expired, said about 70 percent of residents supported the move.

It said the deal to buy electricity generated at the Sapphire Wind Farm in north western NSW will save ratepayers around $1.8m over a decade.

The City of Sydney, which also signed an agreement with Flow Power which takes effect from 1 July 2020, said ratepayers would save half a million dollars over a decade and cut emissions by 20,000 tonnes a year.

That electricity will be generated at the Sapphire Wind Farm, the Bomen Solar Farm near Wagga Wagga, and a community-owned solar farm near Nowra on the NSW southeast coast.

Melinda Dewsnap, the City’s sustainability engagement manager – residential, said while regional communities are living with the consequences of climate change, they’re also part of the response.

“Partnering and investing in projects such as these ensures we run our cities on renewables and help build new economies across the state.”