By Contributor, Roy Tan
Australia is set to meet emission goals 6 years ahead of schedule
At COP21 in 2015 more than 700 city leaders from all over the world gathered, pledging their commitment towards a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050 under the Paris Agreement.
According to the C40 Group, 70% of the world’s global emissions are a product of cities. By 2017, 102 cities have reported at least 70% of their energy generation from renewable sources.
Fast forward to today, Sydney recently entered the growing list of cities that now run on 100% renewable energy. This transition to green energy was made possible via a green power agreement with Australia-based energy retailer, Flow Power.
Sydney has been actively involved in combating climate change, announcing plans to reduce its carbon emissions by 70% since 2016. With the latest power purchase agreement with Flow Power, emission goals are projected to be met 6 years ahead of schedule.
It will also generate job opportunities and economic growth for the surrounding communities – a welcomed decision in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
How does the energy deal operate?
As part of the deal, the equivalent of the city’s electricity consumption will be purchased by Flow Power and added to the national grid for the next 10 years, ensuring price certainty amidst volatile energy market conditions.
An estimated 75% of the power generation in Sydney will be generated by wind, with the remaining portion accounted for by solar power. The sources of power mainly originating from 3 locations within New South Wales – the Bomen Solar Farm, Shoalhaven Solar Farm, and Sapphire Wind Farm.
Boasting a power capacity of 270 MW and power generated by 75 wind turbines, the Sapphire Wind Farm situated near Inverell is the largest in New South Wales, allowing it to provide Sydney with three-quarters of its energy needs.
It is also particularly worth noting that, in a move to facilitate the growth of New South Wales’ renewable sector, the Shoalhaven Solar Farm has been developed in collaboration with Repower Shoalhaven – a non-profit community enterprise which utilises the farm to power houses, and reduces energy bills for locals within the region.
The entirety of Sydney’s operations – including public amenities and buildings such as streetlights, sports facilities, and even the iconic Sydney Town Hall – will now be powered by 100 percent renewable electricity, sourced from the 3 local solar and wind farms.
A Carbon Neutral future for Australia
Certified carbon neutral in 2011, the city of Sydney had since been the forefront of sustainability and green energy in Australia. The city’s sustainability efforts were also recognised by environmental non-profit, CDP in 2019, which includes emission reduction initiatives and climate policies targeting extreme climate events.
As more individuals and establishments generate solar power for themselves via rooftop panels, Australia will soon transit into a mutual energy ecosystem that involves the simultaneous buying and selling of electricity by users. In fact, households in Sydney have already begun selling excess solar power back to the national grid.
With sustainability efforts bolstered by Sydney’s inclusion of regional community-based schemes, building a sustainable and decarbonised future while generating employment and supporting regional investment will now be possible for the nation with many following suit in the immediate future.