Noosa set to host major national climate and energy summit

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Noosa has been booming over the last decade, and, perhaps ironically, it is not due to its usual suspects, boomers. Over the last decade or so Noosa has changed its image from a quiet getaway for retirees and families to the ‘Instagramable’ place to be for inexplicably wealthy young couples, and surfers looking to escape Sydney’s choc a block line-ups only to be dropped in on by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

In accordance with its modern youthful vibe, Noosa Council is of the local governments leading the nation in addressing the impacts of climate change and working toward the renewable energy transition. To that end, Noosa has been selected to host Transforming Australia 2020, a major national climate summit run by Cities Power Partnership (CPP), the country’s largest local government climate alliance. The summit will bring local government, industry representatives and community leaders together from 28-30 October 2020 toward the development of regional climate and energy solutions.

October will prove the perfect time to dust off those Camilla kaftans and shoot up to Noosa. And let us join together give thanks, for if Noosa and kaftans didn’t exist how would any of us know that the residents of Mosman weren’t actually made of lycra?

Noosa Mayer Tony Wellington is certainly excited for the influx the summit will bring, a reward for the famous seaside town’s ambitious environmental goals. “Noosa was the first Queensland council to declare a climate emergency,” said Wellington. “We have set an ambitious net zero emissions goal of 2026. We’ve installed over a thousand solar panels, including…flexible panels on a curved roof.”

Wellington is talking about the SunMan flexible solar panels installed on Noosaville Library. The 72.5 kW installation generates almost half of the Noosaville Library’s electricity needs. The product has also been used for a 235 kW install at the Australian National Maritime Museum’s Heritage Centre and eArche solar panels were used for Byron Bay’s solar train.

By 2026 it is hoped that every acai bowl in Noosa will be blended, and every hanging fairy light display powered, by clean renewable sources.

“We look forward to hosting local government leaders from around the country,” continued Wellington. “When it comes to coping with the impacts of climate change, we’re all in this together. And so it’s together that we must develop bold climate and energy solutions.” Wellington went on to quote the Dalai Lama, “… ‘if you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.’” It is a point that might’ve been better left unsaid, if only for the fact that humility is about as prevalent in Noosa as snowfall.

Nevertheless, the Summit will be a golden opportunity for different communities to discuss their pathways to net-zero emissions, how to better invest in large-scale renewable energy, bushfire resilience and the development of sustainable transport networks.

As a practical interlude to those discussions, summit participants will be able to visit the nearby 15 MW Sunshine Coast Solar Farm.

David Craven, director of the CPP expressed his excitement for Noosa. “After the success of the last Cities Power Partnership summit, we’re excited to draw local government powerhouses together once more in Noosa to accelerate Australia’s climate and energy transformation,” he said.

For more information on the summit see: https://transformingaustralia2020.org.au/