Inner West Council has voted to push forward with an environment policy that will see it become a national leader in renewable energy and combating climate change.
Mayor Darcy Byrne said that after taking the policy to the election he was now seeking immediate implementation.
‘Our newly elected government is going to punch above its weight in the national environmental debate,’ he said.
‘We’re going to make the inner west a laboratory where new climate change and renewable energy policies are developed. By completely divesting from fossil fuels and showing how rooftop solar can be expanded across apartment buildings, factories and office blocks we can take urban environmentalism to a new level.’
Stanmore Ward Councillor Anna York said that the decision will ensure that Inner West Council is not just recognised as the cultural and arts hub of Sydney but also leading the way in solar and renewable energy.
‘In the absence of state and federal leadership, Inner West Council is leading the fight against dangerous climate change,’ she said.
‘Council will continue to support the residential and commercial uptake of solar. I believe we can also make an impact on a larger scale.
‘We will investigate programs like solar gardens that could allow us to invest in a more centralised solar project, or community solar programs that share both the cost and return of renewable investment across a group.
‘We know our community supports renewables and will celebrate our Council becoming 100% carbon neutral, fitting all new Council buildings with Solar PV, and establishing an Office of Renewable Energy Innovation.’
Council will develop a climate strategy and renewables plan aimed at:
• Becoming 100% carbon neutral by 2023;
• Achieving 100% divestment from Fossil Fuels, with Council already at 77% divestment, the highest of any local government in NSW;
• Establishing an Office of Renewable Energy within Inner West Council;
• Retrofit Council Buildings with appropriately sized Solar PV cells
• Leveraging the community’s support for solar and renewables by investing in the design, pilot and scaling of innovative renewable energy projects
Council will also sign up to the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership, a coalition of local governments across the country committed to finding solutions to climate change. Part of the Climate Council, which was relaunched as a community funded organisation after being scrapped by the Abbot Government, the City Powers Partnership launched in July this year. It focusses on pledging actions focused on solar and renewables leadership.
This article first appeared in Public Now on 26 October 2017