Why Sydney’s renewable electricity and emissions targets matter

Sourcing 100 per cent renewable electricity will benefit not only Sydney but also Australia – and the planet.

From July 2020, the City of Sydney has dived head-first into the renewables future by purchasing only 100 per cent renewable electricity for its operations – like solar or wind-generated electricity. We’re doing our bit to help the entire City of Sydney local area achieve the target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2035.

Image: City of Sydney

And we aren’t the only ones taking action. The NSW government has committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, and the federal government says it will reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030. National and state-level governments all over the world have made similar commitments.

Why are we pursuing this target?

In 2016, Australia signed the Paris Agreement, pledging to limit global temperature increases to less than 2˚C. This means decarbonising the economy by 2050.

Averting the worst effects of climate change and ensuring our city remains healthy and thriving will require effort at all levels – from individuals to local councils and state and federal government. Our community has told us that strong action now is important to them.

The shift to renewable electricity is happening much faster than anyone imagined. We’re leading by example, with the hope of inspiring local residents and businesses to take action themselves.

Setting ambitious targets for the City also makes good business sense. Clean renewable electricity with storage to make it available on demand is now cheaper than coal.

Saving energy and money

The transition to renewable electricity goes hand in hand with a suite of sustainability measures that the City of Sydney has implemented in recent years, including installing solar panels on City buildings (including Sydney Town Hall), installing a Tesla battery at the Alexandra Canal Depot, and replacing 6500 street lights with LEDs. This has saved ratepayers $800,000 a year in energy costs and reduced carbon pollution equivalent to 2400 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

The money we’ve saved by investing in energy efficiency will more than cover our commitment to 100 per cent renewable electricity while supporting clean-energy projects that create jobs and make a difference to regional communities.

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