Renewable electricity will power all City-owned properties from July 2020, including pools, libraries, playing fields, depots and council buildings, including the historic Sydney Town Hall.
The 100 per cent renewable electricity commitment is projected to save the City up to half a million dollars a year over the next 10 years.
The City is committing to buy electricity from the 270-megawatt (MW) Sapphire Wind Farm near Glenn Innes in northern New South Wales, the 120MW Bomen Solar Farm near Wagga Wagga in the south-west of the State, and not-for profit community-owned solar scheme near Nowra on the south-east NSW coast.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the new agreement with innovative energy company, Flow Power, would generate jobs, support the state’s drought-stricken regional areas, and further cut harmful emissions.
“Today’s announcement is the biggest standalone renewables commitment for an Australian council,” Lord Mayor Moore said.
“By 2020 all our pools, libraries, playing fields, depots and council buildings, including the historic Sydney Town Hall, will be powered using only wind and solar.
“Our agreement will generate jobs in regional NSW, supporting the state’s drought-stricken regional areas, while cutting harmful emissions.
“The science is clear, without urgent, co-ordinated and global action to reduce emissions in the next decade, we face a very high risk of triggering runaway climate change.
“This new commitment will see the City’s operations cut emissions by around 20,000 tonnes a year, equivalent to the power consumption of 8000 local households.
“The City has been certified carbon neutral since 2011 and will now achieve its commitment to reduce emissions by 70 per cent six years ahead of our 2030 deadline.
“Successive Australian governments have shamefully presided over a climate disaster, and now we are at a critical juncture.
We can act here in Sydney, but we desperately need the Australian government to reintroduce a price on carbon to meet our Paris Agreement emissions reduction targets, and to establish a Just Transition Authority to ensure Australians employed in fossil fuel industries find appropriate alternate employment.”
The agreement with Flow Power will see three-quarters of the City’s power sourced from wind generation and one-quarter from solar.
Flow Power CEO, Matthew van der Linden, said the City’s commitment to buy its electricity from renewable plants was an important step in Australia’s transition to a low-carbon future.
“It’s exciting to see the City of Sydney take on renewables as the cornerstone of a holistic energy strategy,” Mr van der Linden said.
“This deal will empower the City to tap into the wholesale energy market and support the system.
‘This is the forward-thinking approach to energy that will drive us toward the new energy future.
“We need organisations to lead by example when it comes to their energy strategy.
“If just 20 per cent of the market followed the City’s lead, it would drive investment in 11 gigawatt of new renewable generation, that’s double the current pipeline of renewable projects.”
The community solar farm project is being developed with Repower Shoalhaven and is expecting to be completed in 2020.
The City has already reduced electricity usage by 26 per cent since 2006 by investing in energy efficiency initiatives, resulting in significant savings for ratepayers.