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Collaborating to secure renewable energy for local councils

For many years, councils in Central NSW have grappled with short-term electricity contracts, leading to uncertainties in energy costs. This left the councils vulnerable to market fluctuations and compelled them to seek a long-term solution to support renewable energy sources. 

The Central NSW Joint Organisation (CNSWJO) took a proactive approach to address their energy needs. The 11 councils within the CNSWJO joined forces with 5 councils from the Eastern Riverina region to secure a renewable energy deal with Iberdrola Australia for their combined electricity consumption of 36GWh a year.

The 8-year renewable energy contract will see councils in the Central NSW region source 78% renewable energy for their large sites and streetlighting from the Bodangora Wind Farm near Wellington, NSW. This initial arrangement provides the councils with a strong foundation for sustainable energy practices. Moreover, they have the flexibility to transition to the Flyers Creek Wind Farm near Blayney when it becomes operational, further solidifying their commitment to renewable energy sources.

For CNSWJO member Bathurst Regional Council, the arrangement has had a significant impact on their operational energy emissions. The renewable energy deal reduced council’s emissions by 4,280 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), contributing towards an overall 52% reduction in their operational energy emissions since 2018-19.

The renewable energy deal aligns with CNSWJO's commitment to accelerate the transition towards a net zero carbon future. It also demonstrates the partnership's commitment to renewable energy, and the deal is set to make a substantial impact. 

By securing a long-term renewable energy deal, the councils have reduced annual greenhouse gas emissions by over 20,000 tonnes of CO2e, which is equal to electricity use for over 5,800 homes in NSW.

In just the first 6 months, the renewable energy deal has saved the group $2.3m compared to a conventional electricity contract. This bold step exemplifies their dedication to combat climate change and create a sustainable future for their communities.

With funding support from the NSW Government and councils, this transformative project has come to fruition, fulfilling a long-cherished dream of supporting renewable energy projects in the region. As they continue their journey towards net zero aspirations, the councils set an inspiring example for other communities and regions to emulate in their pursuit of a cleaner and greener future.

Photo: Iberdrola Australia