Ooh, aah, Dubbo goes solar

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When Dubbo’s most famous son trundled in to bowl perfectly pitched line and length with all the finesse of a pigeon-legged Picasso, the chant would go up in the crowd: “Ooh, aah, Glen McGrath!” Today, a Dubbo product has us chanting again: “Ooh, aah, Dubbo goes solar!” 

This is all to say that regional New South Wales’s Dubbo Regional Council is now a member of the Cities Power Partnership (CPP) program. The CPP program is a climate network partnership of local governments nationwide. Already over 120 councils have joined the CPP, representing almost 11 million Australians. In New South Wales, Dubbo joins, among others, its neighbouring Orange, as well as Bathurst, Parkes, and Wagga Wagga, in the effort to battle climate change. 

Mayor Ben Shields said that joining the CPP was an essential step in helping the Dubbo Region to transition to a renewable energy future and would assist Council with implementing its recently adopted Energy Strategy & Implementation Plan 2020 – 2025. 

“Those who join the Cities Power Partnership are supported to undertake five key actions across renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport and community support,” said Shields. “I am proud to join the hundreds of shires, towns and cities across Australia that are switching to clean energy, building resilient communities, and ultimately cutting greenhouse gas pollution.” 

As of February 2019 the Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI), Dubbo Regional Council is a leader in solar hot water and solar PV uptake, it’s 6,579 PV installations represent a 31.2% penetration rate. The NSW average is approximately 20%. The vast majority of those installations are under 10 kW but the region does boast the 18 MW South Keswick solar farm and Dubbo’s famous Zoo boasts a 1 MW solar array onsite. 

Graphic: 100% Renewables PTY LTD

Image: The Adopted Dubbo Regional Council Energy Strategy and Implementation Plan 2020 - 2025

However, Dubbo Regional Council recognises its own need to pick up the pace. The Council’s first point of action as a CPP member is the installation of more solar PV and battery storage on council buildings. Already the Council has 15 solar installations, including a 70 kW array at Western Plains Cultural Centre, but there is still a lot more time left in the day. 

Additionally, the Council will now look to power all its operations with renewable energy by 2030, this will see the creation of a revolving green energy fund to finance renewable energy projects. It can be safely assumed that much of this fund will be involved in purchasing renewable energy via power purchase agreements (PPAs). 

Graphic: 100% Renewables PTY LTD

Image: The Adopted Dubbo Regional Council Energy Strategy and Implementation Plan 2020 - 2025

CPP Director David Craven welcomed Dubbo to the climate network. “I would like to congratulate Dubbo Regional Council on joining the local climate leaders in the Cities Power Partnership, who are shaping the way that Australian communities use and generate energy,” said Craven. “Since the program’s inception, CPP councils have launched over 400 climate projects. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Dubbo region will bring to the CPP.”