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Sydney, Australia - 100% Renewable Energy City

Photo by Kazuhisa Togo /Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: City of Sydney

Photo credit: City of Sydney

Photo credit: City of Sydney

100% Renewable Energy Goal:
100% renewable electricity, heating and cooling by 2030

Sydney, Australia

Sydney is the capitol of New South Wales and the most populated city in Australia, with approximately 4,627,345 inhabitants. Australia has been one of the countries to feel the negative impacts of climate change earliest and most severely, with extreme drought and flooding cycles, damage to the Great Barrier Reef, among other major crises. The country also relies heavily on its natural gas industry, and with supplies diminishing, it is important to plan for a future that is not dependent on this resource.

In 2013, the City of Sydney developed a plan to transition to 100% renewable energy for electricity, heating and cooling by 2030, using resources such as wind, solar, and waste. The plan gives a detailed analysis of technical, economic, and financial issues involved in this undertaking. According to the City's website, the "master plan is based on world renewable energy best practice, what other advanced economies are doing to overcome the intermittency of renewable energy and the energy policies needed to achieve a 100% non-intermittent renewable energy system." Best practices include decentralized energy installations and diversified sources of energy.

According to the plan, about 30% of the total carbon and nuclear free mix would come from wind and solar, and 70% from waste to gas from sources such as garbage, sewage plants, landfill sites, livestock, agriculture, and forestry.

Three consulting firms provided input on the plan: Arup performed the technical analysis, Allen Consulting Group offered the financial and economic analysis, and Talent with Energy worked on the supply infrastructure for renewable gases.

The City opened the plan for public comment in August 2013. The Trigeneration Plan, which details how the city will use waste to generate energy for electricity, heating and cooling, was adopted by the City Council on September 16, 2014. See: Turning Everyday Trash into Clean Energy.

According to the City, by capturing and using heat produced by electricity generation, trigeneration is more than twice as efficient as coal-fired power stations that produce around 80% of Sydney's electricity. 

The Trigeneration plan has been slowed by cumbersome state and federal regulations, but the City is proceeding nonetheless. The plan's first Trigeneration project is to be implemented at the City's Town Hall, which is expected to reduce Sydney's annual carbon emissions by 3 per cent and reduce Town Hall and Town Hall House energy bills by an average of $320,000 a year over the life of the project. The City received a grant of $3.05 million from the Federal Government’s Community Energy Efficiency Program for the project.

The City's Advanced Waste Treatment Master Plan can be found here: City of Sydney - Advanced Waste Treatment Master Plan.

To help ensure that City staff has the capacity to carry out the effort, The lead on developing and implementing Sydney's Decentralized Energy and Water Master Plans, Chief Development Officer Climate and Energy Allan Jones, has trained staff to attain the necessary skills to take over when his four year contract with the city ended in 2014.

The City updates its progress on its sustainability efforts biannually in publicly available reports. For example, see: http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/212761/Report-Green-Report-January-to-June-2014-Final.pdf


Allan Jones: Sydney's Master Plan for 100% Renewable Energy by 2030
We caught up with the City of Sydney's Chief Development Officer for Energy and Climate Change to learn about the city's ambitious plan.


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