For some years Clarence Valley Council, like many other government and business organisations, has been working steadily to reduce its operation’s carbon emissions in response to the challenge of climate change.
In November 2018 Council adopted a target to reduce its carbon emissions (excluding landfill) by 40% by 2030 compared with 2016/17 levels. It aims to reach net zero emissions by 2050. At the same meeting it set a target of supplying 50% of its electricity demand from renewable energy by 2030 - with the long-term aim of sourcing all electricity from renewables.
By June this year Council will have 39 facilities with solar systems with a generating capacity of 970 kW as well as four battery storage systems. It has been steadily upgrading lighting to energy saving LEDs along streets, in seven sports fields and in Council buildings.
Its Council fleet of light passenger vehicles is being progressively changed to hybrid vehicles resulting in significant reductions in fuel consumption
Council plans to involve the local community – including business and government organisations - in reducing emissions on a personal and community level. As a first step it engaged consultants to draw up a draft strategy in consultation with the community. This Community Energy and Emissions Reduction Draft Strategy recently went on exhibition with council seeking comment from the community about the options presented.
As 82% of our region’s greenhouse emissions are associated with the consumption of electricity as well as fuel for transport, this is one area where significant reductions will need to be made.
There are, of course, many other areas where changes can be made to reduce emissions on both a personal and community level. And many in our community, like our Council, are already involved in reducing their emissions either with rooftop solar systems or in other ways.
The next step with the Draft Strategy is a consideration of the community input and production of the final document which will then go to Council for adoption. Following that, Council will be implementing the strategy in cooperation with the community.
- Leonie Blain
Published in the "Voices for the Earth" column in The Clarence Valley Independent , May 12, 2021.