The City of Sydney has made the switch to 100 per cent renewable energy after signing a $60 million green deal with regional energy suppliers.
From July 1, the Sydney city council will see all of its operations run off renewable energy, including street lights, pools, sports fields, depots, buildings as well as Sydney Town Hall.
The council believes the change will save it nearly $500,000 in energy costs over the next decade, resulting in a carbon emission reduction of 20,000 tonnes per year.
“We are in the middle of a climate emergency. If we are to reduce emissions and grow the green power sector, all levels of government must urgently transition to renewable energy,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said in a media release.
“The City of Sydney became carbon neutral in 2007, and were the first government in Australia to be certified carbon neutral in 2011. This new deal will see us reach our 2030 target of reducing emissions by 70 per cent by 2024, six years early.
“This ground-breaking $60 million renewable electricity deal will also save our ratepayers money and support regional jobs in wind and solar farms in Glen Innes, Wagga Wagga and the Shoalhaven.”
Most of the energy — around three-quarters — will be generated by wind power with the remaining quarter being supplied by three solar farms in Wagga Wagga, Nowra and in Woodstock, near Glen Innes.
While it’s certainly a moment to be celebrated, it comes just days after a new report revealed Australia was likely to miss its Paris Agreement by at least five years — even with coronavirus reducing air travel pollution.
Australia still projected to fail its carbon reduction targets
The report released by environmental auditing company Ndevr Environmental projected that Australia would reach its 26 to 28 per cent emissions reduction by 2035, instead of the promised deadline of 2030. That means it would miss its commitment to the United Nations Paris Agreement by five years, despite a year-on-year drop in emissions.
While the latest report was an improvement on the previous quarter’s projections, which would see the target reached by 2098 and 2065 respectively, it’s still not enough. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) monumental report in 2018 found that global temperatures could not rise 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures without dire consequences for the planet’s environment and stability.
It found that the current commitments under the Paris Agreement would need to be more robust and ambitious in order to prevent a more disastrous rise from occurring.
“Current national pledges on mitigation and adaptation are not enough to stay below the Paris Agreement temperature limits and achieve its adaptation goals,” the report reads.
“While transitions in energy efficiency, carbon intensity of fuels, electrification and land-use change are underway in various countries, limiting warming to 1.5°C will require a greater scale and pace of change to transform energy, land, urban and industrial systems globally.”