Lismore City Council set itself the target to generate 100% of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2023. This 100% RE target is a corporate or organisational target and does not comprise the entire city.
The decision of the City Council to be operated by 100% RE was made in 2013 after an 18-months community consultation, where residents were asked to identify their priorities and the community expressed the wish for Lismore to become a model of sustainability. To reach this goal, in 2014 the City Council developed the 2023 Renewable Energy Master Plan including action plans. The Renewable Energy Master Plan involves two distinct stages. First, the energy consumption should be significantly reduced with a range of energy efficiency measures, such as switching to LED lighting and installing solar PV and solar hot water systems at Council-owned sites. Second, a large-scale 3.8-4.7 MW solar plant should be constructed. In 2014, Lismore recently awarded a tender to Nickel Energy to install 166kW of solar PV which should save nearly $100,000 a year in electricity costs.
Furthermore a Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP) was established by the federal government to support local councils and community organisations in improving the energy efficiency of buildings, facilities and street lighting as well as delivering community education. In Lismore, energy efficiency upgrades in buildings and facilities were conducted, for example the council installed rooftop solar on a number of buildings and depots in 2010. Lismore is also the first local government in Australia that installed a hybrid wind and solar-powered off-grid streetlight. Combined, these energy efficiency upgrades will save Council $144,500 in electricity bills each year and the result of all of these actions is that the Council has reduced its electricity use in the past five years by 22% in total.
Moreover, since 2013 the council is working together with the initiative Farming the Sun toward Australia’s first community-owned solar farm in Lismore consisting of two 100kW solar PV systems using a community-funded loan. Finance for the projects is to be sourced from local community investors; however their core purpose is to support the leadership, influence and capacity of the community to impact on changes towards a renewable and sustainable system of energy.
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Tuesday, June 21st, 2016