Willoughby powers towards Net Zero

Willoughby City

Depot PV array.jpg

Willoughby City Council has taken a major step towards its target to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2025 by flicking the switch to renewable solar energy from this month.

This move, which effectively halves Council’s carbon footprint, was made possible by a landmark renewable energy deal between Willoughby and 24 other NSW councils and brokered with Zen Energy.

Under the deal, all of Willoughby City Council’s power will be sourced from solar farms at Moree, Hillston and Nevertire, located in regional NSW.

Switching to solar and removing gas as a heating source at the Leisure Centre also represents a better deal for the bottom line, with the Council’s energy costs forecast to fall by approximately 10%.

Separately, solar energy is also now powering equipment such as electric vehicles, lawn mowers, blowers and tools used by Council.

This in part due to the fact that the Council’s Chatswood depot, where this equipment is stored, is now powered by rooftop solar panels, with excess electricity stored in batteries for uninterrupted, off-grid supply.

Willoughby City Mayor Tanya Taylor said the Council was standing out as a leader when it comes to environmental sustainability, innovation and building resilience for the future.

“Willoughby City Council’s investment in renewable energy and the electrification of assets will help realise our emissions targets,” Mayor Taylor said.

“One practical example includes our fleet of electric ride-on lawn mowers, leaf blowers and jack hammers as an alternative to petrol-powered equipment.”

“These are not only more environmentally sustainable, but the equipment is lighter and quieter making it safer for staff to operate and quieter for residents.”

“The community of Willoughby is deeply passionate about environmental issues.

“During our recent community consultation on Our Future Willoughby 2032, there was overwhelming support from the community for sustainability and greening measures and our priority to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.

“While Council’s operations are targeted to be Net Zero by 2025, our vision is for all Willoughby residents to live a net zero life by 2040.”

To support the community to create a more sustainable future, Council is delivering a suite of initiatives and projects including:

  • Doubling our solar PV system to more than 1 gigawatt of installed capacity with rooftop solar on The Concourse, Willoughby Leisure Centre and other buildings
  • Installation of 12 EV charging bays in Chatswood CBD and St Leonards carparks and streets
  • Replacing all street lights across Willoughby LGA with energy-efficient LEDs
  • Upgrading Council facilities with sustainable design principles
  • Partnership with Climate for Change to train facilitators to lead climate conversations
  • Solar Power Bulk Buy program for Willoughby residents to take advantage of special pricing for quality solar products

/Public Release. View in full here.