What has Council achieved in the past regarding energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable transport, or broader sustainability?
The Adelaide Hills Council (AHC) is a member of the Resilient Hills and Coasts project, in which 11 organisations are working together on climate change adaptation planning and mitigation actions. The recent engagement of a consultant to develop a design for a Community Energy Program will identify the best approach to reduce energy costs, increase the use of renewables, reinforce the local economy, and be good for the environment.
The AHC is also committed to reducing its own energy use and has included a specific goal to “strive for carbon neutrality as an organisation and encourage our community to do likewise” within its current Strategic Plan. Previous efforts towards this goal include a 2011 greenhouse gas and energy efficiency audit on its main buildings. The outcome of this audit was the installation of 105kWh of solar PV panels, numerous LED lights, and instantaneous hot water systems across its properties, which has reduced emissions by approximately 15%.
AHC’s Community and Recreation Facility Grants program has also been utilised by numerous community club and hall committees, who have applied and been successful in installing solar PV panels. A specific energy efficiency and sustainability criteria has seen this type of application increase.
What does Council hope to achieve in the future in regards to energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable transport, or broader sustainability?
The AHC has recently committed funding to undertake further investigation into the next step towards carbon neutrality, this year in the form of energy efficiency and sustainable transport options. A Carbon Neutrality Plan will be developed with an investigation into the use of electric vehicles, charging stations, and priority sites for battery storage technology.
A further 30kWh of solar PV panels will be installed on the Summit Community Centre, Norton Summit, and the staged roll out of a Community Energy Program to improve household energy efficiencies is being considered. This Program, if adopted, will incorporate energy aggregation through community education and bulk-buy programs for battery storage.
What does Council hope to gain from being a member of the Cities Power Partnership?
The AHC is a relatively small council by population, but through the Resilient Hills and Coasts group it has been able to achieve improved energy efficiency gains and undertake several climate adaptation actions. Becoming a member of the Cities Power Partnership provides the AHC with even more opportunity to learn from the experiences and knowledge of others, and hear from other small councils who have had success reducing their carbon footprint.