Monday, 25 October 2021 14:28

Western Sydney councils slash emissions

Installation-of-solar-panels BMCC - credit - Blue Mountains City Council Installation-of-solar-panels BMCC - credit - Blue Mountains City Council


Media release, 27 October 2021

Western Sydney emissions have been slashed by 338,134t CO2e and $20 million reduction in energy to date through council collaboration under the Western Sydney Energy Program.

WSROC President Clr Barry Calvert said “Following the launch of the WSEP strategy in 2019, the Western Sydney Energy Program has aligned and maximised our energy and cost-saving efforts. The region’s rapid population growth and hot climate continue to place increasing pressure on our electricity grid and cause higher electricity bills for residents. Ensuring that Western Sydney is prepared to transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon future is critical for our communities.

“The WSEP exists to support participating councils by establishing an aligned position, based in best practice, so that future development is both cost-effective and future-proofed,” said Clr Calvert.

“Councils are achieving remarkable goals by embracing innovative projects and technologies,” he said.

The Western Sydney Energy Program (WSEP) is a collaboration between seven councils in Western Sydney. Coordinated by Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Council (WSROC), the program aims to reduce emissions and boost energy savings for a more sustainable, affordable energy future.

Energy savings and emission reduction achieved through WSEP to date have resulted from several projects, including:

  • Over 51,000 residential streetlights changed to more efficient LEDs: reducing emissions, energy bills and maintenance costs.
  • Over 600 Western Sydney businesses accessed the Business Energy Advice Program (BEAP). A WSROC partnership with the Department of Industry Science Energy and Resources and Business Australia, BEAP is free and assists businesses to save $1,085 on average, per annum.
  • Development of policy and equipment specifications for council assets that will maximise social, environmental, and financial outcomes.
  • The Western Sydney Regional EV Roadmap which ensures Western Sydney is at the forefront of transition to electrification (focusing on fleet and charging infrastructure). Western Sydney councils also worked with EV charging infrastructure providers to ensure grant funding from ARENA resulted in fast-charging stations for Western Sydney.

WSROC President Clr Barry Calvert said, “I congratulate all councils involved in the Western Sydney Energy Program on their outstanding collaboration to date. Also, I commend each council for their individual projects, geared towards a low-emissions future.

“While these achievements to date are worthy of celebration, the work toward a net-zero future continues. The WSEP is currently working on its project implementation plan for the coming two years. Councils are committed to building on our current achievements, toward continued energy and emissions savings,” said Clr Calvert.

Councils participating in the WSEP include Blacktown City Council, Blue Mountains City Council, Hawkesbury City Council, The Hills Shire Council, Lithgow City Council, Liverpool City Council, and the City of Parramatta Council.

The Western Sydney Energy Program builds on other successful WSROC projects, including Light Years Ahead, Turn Down the Heat and the Regional Waste Strategy.

Current projects implemented by Western Sydney councils:

Blacktown City Council

  • Australia's largest rooftop solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), ~700kW, over 16 sites and a current total of 1,347 kW overall rooftop solar capacity
  • 51% (16,500) of overall lights converted to LEDs
  • Declared a Climate Emergency in 2020
  • Commitment to carbon neutral council operations from financial year 2020/21
  • 100% renewable electricity for council operations by 2025
  • Aspirational target of carbon neutrality for community by 2040
  • Trialling hydrogen fuel for heavy fleet

Blue Mountains City Council

  • Carbon Abatement Action Plan (CAAP) in place
  • 30% absolute emissions reduction target by 2022
  • Resolved to be a Carbon Neutral Organisation by 2025
  • Declared a Climate Emergency in 2019
  • Adopted Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) policy for new Council Buildings
  • Developed Equipment Replacement specifications for replacement of end-of-life equipment at council properties
  • Committed to 100% renewable electricity for councils large sites and streetlights by 2025
  • 54% of overall street lights have been converted to LEDs
  • Installed 290kW of rooftop solar

City of Parramatta

  • On track to achieving carbon neutrality by 2022, and a 60% emission reduction from 2014/15 baseline, 2 goals within Council’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy
  • Entered a 100% renewable power purchasing agreement (PPA) for a quarter of Council’s electricity, and investigating increasing this to 100% for major, minor and streetlighting electricity supply
  • A first in Western Sydney: 3,384 major road lights to be upgraded to smart technology
  • The first council to seek a 6 Green-star communities rating for Parramatta Square - one of the largest urban renewal projects in the country
  • 53% streetlights upgraded to LEDs, with additional upgrades commencing soon will take it to 75%.
  • Continuing installation of solar and battery on Council assets
  • Installation of electric vehicle chargers within Parramatta CBD carparks and at Council’s Rydalmere Operations Centre
  • Food Organics and Garden Organic (FOGO) recycling services being considered for inclusion in the next waste contract in 2024

Hawkesbury City Council

  • Adopted Net Zero Emissions and Water Efficiency Strategy
    • Aspiring to become a Carbon-Neutral LGA
      • Council operations – Net Zero by 2030 or earlier
      • Community – Net Zero by 2030
    • Launched ‘Disaster and Emergency Dashboard’
    • Renewable Energy Retail PPA
      • 100% reduction in total carbon emission for council’s large facilities and street lighting combined
      • Savings of $2.5 million over 10 years and emissions reduction of 67,000 tonnes.
    • Declared a Climate Emergency in 2019
    • Council's Solar Program has increased solar PV installations on Council assets, growing from 38kW on two assets in FY16/17 to 764kW with 2,776 solar panels on 12 assets, savings 800 tCO2e emissions per year
    • 1,643 streetlights (1/3rd of overall) converted to LEDs, with an expected emissions reduction of more than 3,260 tCO2e over the next 20 years

Lithgow City Council

  • 100% of residential streetlights are LEDs
  • Council's 74.1kW system atop its Administration Building is charging up an 81kWh Tesla battery energy-storage system.

The Hills Shire Council

  • 5,756 streetlights replaced with LEDs in FY20/21 – brings the lighting mix to 58% LEDs.
  • Council has over 270 kW of roof top solar installed across 15 sites. This includes the Council administration building, libraries, community centres and childcare centres.

Liverpool City Council

  • Working on an overarching centralised policy document, styled in terms of a Climate Action Plan which draws together existing programs of this or other councils relating to:
  • the promotion of WSUD (Water Sensitive Urban Design) principles
  • minimum tree canopy in urban developments to prevent heat sinking effects
  • the promotion of solar and other forms of renewal energy for private development and government buildings
  • the reduction of emissions from the Council fleet and equipment, and any public transport services council provides or sponsors
  • ensuring energy efficient building standards
  • ensuring energy efficient public lighting
  • improving infrastructure for walking and cycling
  • the promotion of recycling
  • the protection of vulnerable flora and fauna
  • the general embedding of climate resilience into council strategies
  • Goal setting in terms of measuring and attaining carbon neutral status for council operations, toward inclusion in a Climate Action Plan, in due course.
  • Participation in Endeavour Energy program for the remaining ~10,600 Non-LED street lights to be replaced with LED lamps.


Media contact: Kate O’Connell,  02 9671 4333, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Last modified on Friday, 19 November 2021 13:16

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