South Australian councils joined forces on climate change this week, with Onkaparinga Mayor Lorraine Rosenberg warning that local governments can’t afford to wait for Federal and State climate solutions.
The Cities Power Partnership event, run by the Climate Council, brought together 14 metropolitan and regional councils from across SA to hear from speakers from City of Adelaide, Onkaparinga, City of Marion and Charles Sturt councils on how they slashed power bills and reduced emissions through energy efficiency projects.
Onkaparinga Mayor Lorraine Rosenberg said: “Local government can’t sit on its hands and wait for solutions to come to us from other tiers of government or external organisations. We must build capacity together and develop our own ways to tackle climate change and reduce our environmental impact.”
“As a growing city, we need to be smart and strategic about the way we use energy, and the demands we place on energy infrastructure.”
“Joining the Cities Power Partnership will help us build on the work we’re already doing to minimise our council’s environmental impact. We’ve already introduced solar power at 24 council sites, reducing our emissions by 30 per cent and by March 2018 we’ll have 11,000 LED lights installed across our city, saving a further 2700 tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions every year.”
With recent research showing that cities and towns have the capacity to make up 70% of the emissions reductions needed to meet the Paris Agreement target, local government action on climate is rapidly becoming a focal point in Australia’s transition to clean energy.
Alix Pearce, director of the Cities Power Partnership, said: “Local governments have the capacity to make huge inroads into reducing Australia’s emissions, and energy efficiency is one of the most effective tools at their disposal. Projects such as City of Adelaide’s ‘Smart Blocks’ energy efficiency incentive for apartment buildings help to shape a new normal for developments, where energy-saving is built into the fabric of the city.”
Councils also heard about how they can support community renewable energy, a growing force in South Australian energy generation.
Alix Pearce said: “Community energy projects have huge potential to generate cheap, clean, reliable energy for South Australians, but innovative projects can be hamstrung by regulations before they get off the starting blocks. A regulatory framework that encourages community renewable energy projects that lessen the demand on the grid is beneficial for everyone.”
The event also saw the opening of the next round of the Cities Power Partnership to new council members. The free, national program, run by the Climate Council, brings together local governments from across Australia to pledge action to tackle climate change. City of Onkaparinga has already signed up to join the partnership.
Alix Pearce says: “South Australia is the country’s renewable powerhouse, from state through to local level. Having SA councils on board with the Cities Power Partnership will help to show the way forward on clean energy to other local governments.”