City sets sights on 100% renewable electricity target

27 Aug 2019

A plan to source 100 per cent of City of Newcastle’s power from renewable generation could save ratepayers millions in energy costs over the next 25 years, a feasibility study has found.

The study, commissioned by the City following a Council resolution in April indicates cost savings of between $3.8 million and $4.8 million to ratepayers by sourcing power either directly, or via a retailer, from renewable sources.

The Council report also reveals widespread community support for a potential move to 100 per cent renewables following a survey of almost 1,000 Novocastrians.

With the City’s current electricity contracts due to expire on 31 December, Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said it was the right time for the City to implement more sustainable, cost-efficient and eco-friendly forms of electricity generation from 2020 and beyond.

“It’s City of Newcastle’s aim to be a leader in renewable energy as part of our strategy to be a global smart city,” the Lord Mayor said

“Around 70 per cent of the respondents to our Winter Community Survey supported the City moving towards a 100 per cent renewable energy target, which sends us a strong message.

“The survey also identified increasing the use of renewable energy as one of the community’s highest ranked measures to reduce impacts on the environment.

“Our City is well positioned to take the next step towards achieving a 100 per cent renewable electricity target and we are already using half a megawatt of solar to power ten of our sites, including the Newcastle Museum.

“There’s an additional five megawatt of renewable energy generation that will soon be available via the Summerhill Waste Management Centre solar farm.

“Combined, this will provide for between 50-65 per cent of the City’s renewable electricity supply, which puts us on track to meet the 100 per cent goal we’re aiming towards.

“While it will be sometime before the national electricity grid fully transitions to 100 per cent renewable energy, the City will be looking to purchase enough renewable electricity to meet 100 per cent of its operational electricity requirements.”

As part of City of Newcastle’s operational activities, contracts for the supply of electricity for large sites, street lighting and small sites expire on 31 December 2019 and the recommendation proposed is that the City enter into a long-term agreement that provides for 100 per cent renewable electricity supply.

If adopted, City of Newcastle would follow the lead of other Australian organisations that have moved to 100 per cent renewable electricity supply including the University of Newcastle, University of NSW, CBA, Westpac, Monash University, Melbourne University, and also City of Sydney which is currently out to market.