Climate Summit for Local Government

Sept 6-8, 2023 | Melbourne

David Waddell is the Chief Executive Officer at Orange City Council. Orange recently announced they will use 100% renewable energy to power its large sites and streetlights from January 1, 2023. Through this deal, together with Council’s renewable energy action plan implemented over the last few years, Council will reduce its carbon emissions by 30-40%. 

A former chemical engineer, David has a keen interest in the science of climate change coupled with an understanding for the need to steeply reduce emissions decade. To that end, he works closely with Lindsay Hall, Sustainability Officer at Orange City Council, which accelerates the work council is able to complete. 

CEO of Orange City Council, David Waddell

This deal had serious financial motivation for Council because it provides long term energy price security, is that true?

Yes of course the fear of the impact of the massive upcoming increases in electricity costs was a primary motivator. It was the long term certainty and particularly the constant price through the next few tumultuous years that was very pleasing. Over the past few years the cost savings with our renewable projects at Orange Council has been the sell point to get those over the line who did not necessarily see emissions as the main driver.

Was it important to keep things local? Many local jobs?

The team was very keen to see that particular value-add in this contract. The winning tenderer Iberdrola was able to prove we would be driving new wind power in our local area which sends a really strong message to our community in terms of jobs and the economy.

How would you describe your role in getting this deal done?

I would have to say as CEO my job is to deliver the will of the Council and the town of Orange. It is really pleasing to be able to say Orange is ahead of the game and that is what the ratepayers wanted in our recent Community Strategic Plan work. The debate has evolved over the last decade and I’m really glad we are lined up with community ambition.

Was there one ‘message’ that resonated with all stakeholders/decision makers?

For me it was being ahead of the game and actually delivering. So much talk is going on, as you know. Action!

This interview appeared in our Newsletter on August 23, 2022