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26 February 2019 Posted by 


Path towards renewables inspiring
LISMORE CITY COUNCIL is picking up the slack in NSW when it comes to dealing with climate change, joining a wave of local councils which are surging ahead of the state government on climate action.

The findings are contained in a new Climate Council report: Ageing and Unprepared: Energy in New South Wales.

“It is renewable initiatives like the ones implemented by Lismore City Council that are looking to the future and creating an energy grid fit for the 21st century,” said Climate Councillor and former president of BP Australasia, Greg Bourne.

“Lismore City Council plans to source all its electricity needs from renewable energy in just four years’ time. It should be applauded for this. The state government should look to Lismore for a little inspiration,” said Bourne.

The Climate Council report examines NSW’s reliance on polluting coal and its tardy transition to renewable energy. It finds the state was once a world leader on climate change, but now lacks vision and ambition.

“NSW established the world’s first emissions trading scheme in 2003, but dropped it nine years later. The state used to have strong targets to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, but these were ditched too,” said Bourne.

“NSW has Australia’s largest and oldest coal fleet. It’s risky business to rely on coal power stations which become increasingly unreliable with age. Last year they broke down more than 20 times,” said Bourne.

“NSW has an energy system stuck in the dark ages, and as soon as the heatwaves hit, the old coal clunkers have a tendency to fall over like dominoes,” he said.

Report key findings:
• The emissions trading scheme introduced by NSW in 2003 was a world first and over 10 years successfully reduced greenhouse gas pollution by an estimated 144 million tonnes. That is around twice as much greenhouse gas pollution as Australia’s entire car fleet produces in a year.
• NSW has Australia’s oldest coal fleet and is home to five operating coal power stations which collectively produced 82 percent of the state’s electricity in 2017.
• NSW is highly exposed to the impacts of climate change with damages from extreme weather events costing the state $3.6 billion per year, with this figure likely to rise in the future.
• The cheapest and fastest way for NSW to reduce its greenhouse gas pollution would be to progressively replace its coal power stations with renewable energy, like wind and solar with storage.
“By embracing renewable energy we not only lower our greenhouse gas pollution levels, we save money on our power bills - it’s a win win,” said Lismore Mayor, Isaac Smith.

Lismore City Council is part of the Cities Power Partnership, Australia’s largest local government climate network, made up of more than 100 councils from across the country.

“The NSW government has dropped the ball over the past five years. The government ditched its emissions reduction targets and has no renewable energy targets,” said Climate Councillor and energy expert, Professor Andrew Stock.

“It is time for the state government to step-up and start following the example being set by many local councils," he said.

The Climate Council is Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community.


Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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