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Council initiatives help accelerate transition to renewable energy

https://www.pv-magazine-australia.com/2022/08/12/council-initiatives-help-accelerate-transition-to-renewable-energy/

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Livingstone Shire Council on Queensland’s central coast is among the local councils making the move to renewable energy, flicking the switch on a $3 million solar PV and battery energy storage project which will power one of the council’s biggest electricity consuming utilities.

Council has this week unveiled a solar and battery storage system installed at the Yeppoon Sewage Treatment Plant, where it is expected to deliver a power saving of close to 70%.

“The solar power plant is estimated to generate power equivalent to the annual power consumption of about 90 households,” Councillor Andrea Friend said, adding the plant can be completely powered by the solar facility during daylight hours, while directing any surplus to battery storage for use during the night.

“For back-up power supply in less favourable conditions, the plant can revert back to the electricity grid if needed.

“There is also the capacity for expansion of the facility to accommodate increased demand.”

Further north, Cairns Regional Council has signed a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with Queensland government-owned generator CleanCo for 100% renewable electricity to power its sites.

The council has signed a 10-year PPA with CleanCo, with the majority of council’s electricity supply to be sourced from the Kaban Green Power Hub wind farm near Ravenshoe, with the remainder coming from other clean energy sources across Queensland.

Council said the PPA builds on its existing investments in 3 MW of on-site solar.

The councils will source renewable energy from the Bodangora Wind Farm.

Image: Supplied

In New South Wales (NSW), a group of 16 councils have inked a new PPA, signing a renewable energy deal with the Australian arm of Spanish energy giant Iberdrola.

From 1 January 2023, the group of 16 councils in the Central NSW and Riverina regions will source renewable energy to power their large sites and streetlighting as part of an eight-year contract. The clean energy will be supplied from the Bodangora Wind Farm near Wellington and the Flyers Creek Wind Farm being constructed south of Orange when it becomes operational.

Central NSW Joint Organisation chair and Cabonne Mayor Kevin Beatty said the buying power of 16 councils was substantial.

“Collectively, the Central NSW region will source around 78% of its electricity for councils’ large sites and streetlighting from renewable energy under this deal. This is a huge win for the region,” he said.

In Victoria, the City of Greater Bendigo has teamed with Solar Recovery Corporation to help address growing concerns about how best to dispose of decommissioned or end-of-life solar panels.

With more than 100,000 tonnes of solar panel waste predicted to enter Australia’s waste streams by 2035, the council has established dedicated drop-off points at its Eaglehawk Landfill and the Strathfieldsaye and Heathcote transfer stations where residents can now dispose of solar panels for recycling for free.

“Materials that can be recovered from old solar panels include glass, plastic, silicon, copper and aluminium and all solar panels dropped off … will be collected and processed in Australia by Solar Recovery Corporation,” council said. “This material can be recovered from old solar panels for re-use in local manufacturing streams.”

Council said the free service is available to residents only and not commercial operators.

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