Powering Wollongong to a brighter future
The city’s 18,218 streetlights and 17 largest council facilities will soon operate on 100% renewable energy thanks to a contract signed last week with Red Energy.
The switch, to start on 1 January 2023, will save up to 11,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. It follows a group tender with seven NSW councils—including Wingecarribee, Camden and Penrith—that was coordinated by Procurement Australia.
Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said the power purchasing agreement will initially see 85% of Council’s consumption replaced with renewable electricity at a fixed, competitive price for the next 10 years. Additional sites will be added as their meters are upgraded.
“The Australian-owned and operated Red Energy is a product of the Snowy Hydro Scheme. Our electricity will be generated at the 430-hectare Metz Solar Farm in Armidale,” Cr Bradbery said.
“This electricity isn’t just turning on lights, it’s powering human connections across our libraries, halls, leisure centres and pools, and helping our residents get home safely at night.
”To do that in a sustainable and cost-effective way is a massive win. It’s also a major step toward net zero emissions for Council operations by 2030.”
Reducing consumption and transitioning to renewable energy were key pillars in Wollongong City Council’s Climate Change Mitigation Plan 2020-2022.
“Alongside those, the plan saw us roll out the FOGO program, install 545 kilowatts of solar panels across Council facilities and plant 3,462 trees in the urban greening program.
“That said, Council won’t be resting on our laurels. We have already begun work on the next stage of the plan to reach net zero community emissions in Wollongong by 2050.
“Residents can jump on to the Our Wollongong website and share their big and small ideas for how we can tackle climate change together.”
Cr Bradbery hopes residents will use this move by Council to renewable electricity as motivation to look at their own household energy supplies.
“In this volatile energy market, residents would be wise to shop around for the best price and consider renewable energy to power their homes.”