What council has achieved in the past in energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable transport or broader sustainability
Broken Hill and the surrounding region is a leader in the renewable energy sector in Australia – home to the AGL Broken Hill Solar Plant (the second largest installation of its kind in Australia) that feeds enough energy into the grid each year to power the city’s residential power needs more than two and a half times over. The Silverton Wind Farm, currently under construction will further bolster the region’s renewable industry by generating up to six times the amount of electricity that the solar plant produces. Broken Hill City Council has a welcoming approach to renewable energy developments and Council is committed to its position as a regional advocate to secure government and industry support to grow the region’s renewable energy industry. This platform is also supported by Council’s Smart City Framework that endorses key elements designed to reduce human impact on our environment.
Since 2010, Broken Hill City Council and its partners have achieved significant in-roads into environmental management and awareness including introducing a community-wide recycling strategy, opening a Community Recycling Centre, delivering community water sustainability and waste education campaigns and workshops, introducing a free TV Recycling Program, installing a weighbridge at the waste depot and forming a Memorandum of Understanding with the he Broken Hill Environmental Lead Program (BHELP) outlining a number of lead remediation projects to June 2020 aimed at managing and minimising exposure to lead in the local environment and addressing blood lead levels, particularly in children. Council also monitors its energy consumption through the subscription service Planet Footprint.
During 2012-2016 Council undertook a major LED lighting project to assist in reducing energy costs. A combination of the results of this project included changing energy suppliers for our larger sites, gaining a reduced kW/hour price and reduced usage at some sites has reduced Council’s energy costs from $480,350 at the commencement of the reporting period to $356,871 by the final year of the reporting period.
What council hopes to achieve in the future in energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable transport or broader sustainability
Council is committed to continuing the legacy of its forefathers, seeking solutions in collaboration with stakeholders to environmental problems that will ensure the protection of Australia’s only Heritage Listed City. Council is keen to work with multiple partners to grow knowledge and demonstrate the region’s suitability for renewable energy projects that will reduce the impact of the human footprint including a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through the development of energy efficient infrastructure projects, the continued minimisation of waste, the reuse and recycling of resources and through educational programs to bring residents with us on the journey.
What council hopes to gain from being a member of the Cities Power Partnership
Broken Hill City Council wants to continue the City’s reputation as an Australian leader in environmental management.
In the 1930s mining and pastoralism prospered in Broken Hill. The environment, however, did not. Soul destroying dust storms resulted from the huge amount of land clearing around the City. Environmental innovator Albert Morris’s concept of a ‘green belt’ around the City was strongly supported by mining legends WS Robinson and AJ Keast. These men shared Morris’s belief that a vegetation zone surrounding the city would shield it from the destructive force of dust. Volunteers planted eucalypts, saltbush, wattle and other natives over 22 acres of denuded land to re-anchor the soil. A rabbit-proof fence encircled the area to prevent animal access to the seedlings. This is a common occurrence now but was visionary in the 1930s. The innovative work of Albert Morris, William Sydney (WS) Robinson and Asdruebal James (AJ) Keast earned them reputations as pioneer environmentalists whose ideas have since been copied by mining cities across Australia and the world.
As Broken Hill locals, we know this place is something special. From its rich mining history, to its unique outback location and the colourful, brilliant characters it has produced, Broken Hill has always been just a little bit diﬀerent. But in January 2015, the entire nation stood up and acknowledged just how important Broken Hill is by adding our whole City to the National Heritage List – an Australian first. As caretakers of Australia’s First Nationally Heritage Listed City, Broken Hill City Council is focussed on developing tripartite relationships across the all tiers of Government and partnerships with private investors and philanthropists to protect a national asset. Through Council’s Community Strategic Planning process, the community expressed a number of significant aspirations for the future which included reducing resource consumption and minimising waste, increased use and innovation of renewable resources and decrease of the use of non- renewable resources, the reuse and recycling of resources and planning for the minimisation of environmental impacts associated with mining activity on the City.
This partnership provides Council and the community to work in collaboration with other Council’s and stakeholders to investigate best practice, share opportunities and knowledge and ensure that a national asset is protected for generations to come.