NSW council reduces grid electricity consumption, costs with solar, energy efficiency

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Bordering Queensland, the NSW Northern Rivers region Tweed Shire Council has managed to significantly reduce its electricity consumption from the grid, for its water and wastewater pumps and treatment. And a new solar system is playing a major role in the change.

Operational since August 2023, Tweed Shire’s 604 kW solar array powers one of the council’s most power-hungry facilities, the Banora Point Wastewater Treatment Plant. The council says the results of the project in grid power consumption is representative of ongoing efforts formalised in its Renewable Energy Action Plan.

Tweed Council’s Environmental Sustainability Performance Report for the 2022/2023 financial years, showed a total greenhouse gas emissions of 17,873 tonnes, down 4,188 tonnes and representing a 19% year on year decrease, and grid electricity consumption also down 11%.

Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry said since setting a target in 2016/17 to halve electricity-use emissions by 2025 – the council has achieved a 30% decrease to date.

“By July 2023, Council had installed more than 725 kW of solar arrays at 20 Council facilities and we’re really starting to see the positive impacts. That solar has saved Council nearly 2,500 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually – equivalent to the emissions of nearly 140 average households,” Cherry said.

“The great news is that all of these sustainability wins not only help the planet but also save our ratepayers money in the long term, so it’s a win-win.”

Tweed is one of just 11 councils in Australia to achieve full compliance in the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy program (GCoM) for its work in 2021.

Tweed Shire Council is one of 122 cities globally to secure a top score on climate action from the Climate Disclosure Platform (CDP) and one of 11 councils in Australia to achieve full compliance in the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy program (GCoM), for its work in 2021.

Mayor Cherry was the recipient of the 2023 Climate Ambassador in the Cities Power Partnership Awards, highlighting Council’s commitment to climate mitigation across the scheme’s 38 action pledge items.

The Cities Power Partnership (CPP) is the largest local government climate program, with 175 councils, more than 500 cities and towns, which represent almost 70 per cent of the population.

Tweed Shire Council has been a CPP member since 2018 and serves a population of 99,480 people.

Tweed Council emissions over time

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