Central Coast Council has endorsed six pledge actions to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of the national Cities Power Partnership Program, despite some fiery debate in chambers on March 25.
The pledge actions include: installing renewable energy on Council buildings; identifying opportunities to turn waste to energy; improving landfill gas capture systems; looking into energy efficient street lighting; supporting the uptake of electric vehicles; and, supporting local community groups with their community energy initiatives.
Not all councillors were happy with the move, with, Cr Troy Marquart, concerned that bthe area’s rooftops would be “saturated with solar panels” and wanting more details on possible costs associated with the moves.
Despite some back-up from, Cr Greg Best, who asked which would win, the solar panel or the tree which grew up and threw shadow, Cr Marquart found himself in the minority.
Cr Doug Vincent said costs had come down so much it was now economical to use solar power and the Council had a leadership role to fulfil.
A motion to endorse the actions was endorsed, with only Crs Marquart, Best and, Jilly Pilon, voting against it.
Council Mayor, Jane Smith, said Council had committed to a future of renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport and advocacy initiatives.
“I am proud to see we have selected the six pledges that were identified (by the Climate Council) as the most likely to have the highest impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Smith said.
“Some councillors are reluctant to take action on climate change, but it is critical we show some leadership in this matter at community level.
“There are some concerns around costs, but most of these initiatives will see long-term financial benefits.”
Smith said Council had an opportunity to eventually save $2.2m per annum by turning solid waste into energy at its sewerage treatment plants, with an equivalent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 23%.
“Investigations are currently underway at Kincumber Sewerage Treatment Plant,” she said.
A co-generator at the plant would eliminate approximately 50% of energy consumption, with thermal hydrolysis further complementing the cogeneration process and eliminating 100% of the energy costs for the plant.
Another long-term saving could be made with a change in powering public lighting, she said.
“Replacing all public lighting with LED would lead to another $2m per annum in savings.
“We might need to invest a little bit to see long-term savings as it doesn’t happen overnight.
“These actions will strengthen our ability to incorporate renewable energy and energy efficiency into future planning, while also having positive economic benefits by reducing Council’s electricity costs and helping us move towards a circular economy model.”
“I look forward to developing relationships with other councils involved in this free national program to help improve what we can achieve for our community to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.”
Council will provide six monthly progress reports on the pledges as required by the Cities Power Partnership Program.
Agenda item 3.4
Central Coast Council Ordinary Meeting, March 25
Interview, Mar 26
Central Coast Mayor, Jane Smith
Reporter: Terry Collins