Replacing street lights, installing solar panels and introducing hybrid vehicles is all being done by Dubbo Regional Council as it pushes for its new renewable energy targets.
In February, council adopted a new Energy Strategy and Implementation Plan.
As part of the strategy, council is pushing for 50 per cent of its predicted energy consumption by 2025 to come from renewables, either generated from council or purchased.
So far, council’s actions to meet the targets include conducting energy audits at 20 facilities, installing emissions monitoring software, renewable energy feasibility studies and introducing hybrid vehicles.
One of the big changes has been the upgrade of more than 90 per cent of the street light network to LED technology, which is expected to be completed by July. It’s expected to save at least $570,000 per year.
Solar PV systems have also been introduced at 16 council facilities including the Western Plains Cultural Centre (70 kilowatts), Hawthorne Street Depot (20 kW), and Barden Park (12 kW).
Council’s sustainability coordinator Catriona Jennings said the 50 per cent renewable energy goal was chosen because electricity use caused 87 per cent of council’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“Council can therefore reduce emissions associated with energy consumption through focusing on increasing the amount of electricity sourced from renewable energy,” she said.
“In addition to this, investing in renewable energy opportunities can provide significant financial savings.”
Council is also moving towards a zero emissions fleet.
Fuel accounts for 12 per cent of council’s greenhouse gas emissions and diesel, which is used by council’s heavy vehicle fleet, is 11 per cent of that.
The use of electricity in the vehicles will be offset by councils’ aim to source its electricity from renewable energy sources.
Through the energy strategy, council is focusing on four key strategy areas: implementing energy efficient practices and improvements, increasing the use of renewable energy, begin to transition to a zero emissions fleet and supporting the community towards becoming energy smart.
Dubbo residents already have a high uptake of solar panels.
According to the Australian PV Institute, 42.4 per cent of dwellings under the 2830 postcode have installed PV. It’s the equivalent of 7146 installations.
It’s double the NSW average which sits at about 20 per cent.