Central NSW Joint Organisation works collaboratively with its 11 member councils to deliver value through 5 key regional energy activities.
Southern Lights NSW is an enabling infrastructure project designed to deliver better, safer, cheaper lighting and smarter, connected communities. Not only will lighting levels be improved, the project will provide significant connectivity benefits to regional and rural communities across southern NSW from Bega to Broken Hill.
The project will see one of the largest deployments of smart-enabled LED lighting in Australia, with over 75,000 LED street lights deployed across a geographic area that is approximately the same size as the United Kingdom.
Energy Management Program
Member councils utilise energy management software to analyse and identify opportunities to reduce their electricity consumption. CNSWJO provides support to member councils in this regard.
Additionally, CNSWJO works with member councils to procure electricity for council sites, which includes large market sites, mass market sites and streetlighting. The most recent round of electricity procurement was conducted in late 2019 with a new contract commencing on 1 January 2020 for a period of 3 years.
Electric Vehicles Policy and Toolkit
CNSWJO member councils have a keen interest in electric vehicles and are working on a variety of projects to support and encourage the uptake of electric vehicles in Central NSW.
A Toolkit has been developed by CNSWJO and its member councils to help councils, businesses and charging station operators to understand and navigate the process of installing chargers throughout the Central NSW region.
The Toolkit is designed to walk through the necessary steps involved in installing electric vehicle chargers including considerations such as site selection, charging infrastructure, required approvals, the installation process and signage.
Members collaborated on a regional project to identify key locations to install EV charging stations. A strategic approach to charging infrastructure will ensure that electric vehicle drivers have the most logical and stress-free journey through the region. The project will have a strong tourism focus to ensure there is inter-connectivity with the Sydney and Canberra. To see the report on Regional Charging Infrastructure in Central NSW click here.
Further work has been done by the members to analyse a shortlist of proposed sites. That work can be found here.
Solar Panel and Battery Innovation
In 2018/19, seven member councils participated in an alternate energy options analysis which assessed a total of 57 council sites ranging from swimming pools, administration buildings, depots and libraries using ‘behind-the-meter’ solar to carparks as solar generation sites.
A regional procurement process for solar and batteries on council buildings is planned in the future.
Innovation in the energy market emergent opportunities
CNSWJO member councils have a strong interest in investigating renewable energy opportunities, both through their standard electricity contracts, the installation of solar panels, as well as other innovative approaches as they arise.
CNSWJO and its members are continually looking for opportunities to not only reduce their electricity consumption, but also support and engage in the uptake of renewable energy.
Emissions Reduction Opportunities
Central NSW Joint Organisation has demonstrated leadership and its commitment to work collaboratively with member councils to accelerate the transition towards net zero carbon emissions for the Central NSW region. Notable achievements in recent years have included LED streetlight upgrades, a regional EV charging strategy, the development of Renewable Energy Action Plans (REAPs) and Emissions Reduction Plans (ERPs) for member councils, and most recently facilitating a regional procurement process for a long term agreement for the supply of renewable electricity to power member councils’ operations.
While much has been achieved, there remains much more to do to reduce the councils’ and the region’s emissions, and the development of REAPs and ERPs for councils has served to highlight potential new opportunities that CNSWJO can pursue, in collaboration with councils, State & Federal Government agencies and other parties. These opportunities have been highlighted in the regional opportunities report.
Regional opportunities can build on existing measures and further reduce council emissions – such as from landfill gas emissions, fleet, value chain, sequestration and battery storage; and increase regional energy security, resilience and emissions reduction – through regional solar farms, microgrids and battery storage, community emissions reduction strategies, hydrogen generation and EV transition.
Underpinning CNSWJO’s and member councils ability to progress strategic regional net zero priorities are increased resource capacity, good data, increased climate change literacy and collaborations with other organisations that can deliver financial and resources support and deliver outcomes for the Central NSW region.
The CNSWJO Emissions Reduction Plan Regional Opportunities is a starting point, and can help with prioritisation, further work to expand and refine what the specific needs and opportunities for the region are, and help to underpin funding bids and resourcing solutions that can progress these initiatives.