City sustainability on track to 2030

26 May 2022

The City of Stirling has endorsed a $600,000 investment in solar photovoltaic (PV) panel installations in next year’s draft budget (almost twice the amount in 2021/22) to ensure the solar program is complete by 2030 and that emissions reductions are the most cost-effective in the long-term.

In 2021 the City endorsed its Sustainable Energy Action Plan 2020 – 2030 (SEAP) to reach net zero emissions by 2050, with ambitious targets to reach 100 per cent of the City’s electricity needs from renewable sources and a 70 per cent reduction on emissions by 2030.

In addition, the SEAP includes a documented review point, with key performance indicators set at achieving 50 per cent renewable electricity and 35 per cent emissions reductions by 2025.

With the cost of the full program of 24 solar PV systems estimated at $6 million, Council agreed the status quo spending would delay completion of the program to 2040 instead of 2030 – which would not be in line with the Council’s desire to be a leader in sustainability and remain aligned to the advice of the UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021 (COP26) in Glasgow.

Mayor Mark Irwin said the recent Federal Election was a national reflection of what the City of Stirling has long-known is widespread support for faster action on climate change, and that the City would continue to invest to reduce emissions and bring down energy costs over the long-term.

“When designing the corporate commitments in our SEAP 2020 – 2030, community consultation showed 92 per cent support for a 100 per cent renewables target by 2030, and 81 per cent support for our 70 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030,” he said.

“At the weekend, it became clear that there is national support for stronger climate action, and new Prime Minister of Australia, The Hon Anthony Albanese MP, confirmed that the Australian Government’s new official ambitions for 2030 will be increased, so the City is glad to see our priorities are on track with national interests.

“In their most recent state budget, the WA Government provided a $500 million boost to their Climate Action Fund, and almost $60 million to accelerate the purchase of electric and hydrogen vehicles by Western Australians.

“The City of Stirling’s escalation of solar PV installation is aligned not only to the climate targets of our international allies, but also in keeping with the wishes of our local residents confirmed by consultation, the actions of the new Federal Government, the ongoing commitment of the State Government, and the clear wave of public support for change at the recent election.”

Importantly, the City of Stirling projects that the Solar Escalation Program adopted this week will lead to a $3.3 million saving in energy costs to the City and ratepayers by 2040, compared to business as usual.

The 50 per cent renewable interim target by 2025 is now on track, with 21 per cent of that target coming from self-generation via solar panels, and 29 per cent of it coming from the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) the City announced in December 2021. This involved the signing of a landmark three-year, renewable electricity PPA with more than 40 WA local governments and WALGA.

Mayor Mark Irwin also said the City would welcome opportunities to partner with other levels of government on sustainable and innovative projects.

“The City will continue to advocate for funding of the proposed clean and green Trackless Tram technology from Scarborough Beach to Glendalough Train Station,” he said.

“We are particularly buoyed by the knowledge that one of the first election commitments made during the campaign of our new government was to provide $6 million to plan a Trackless Tram route in Melbourne.”

“An investigation into the feasibility of our transition to electric vehicles (EVs) is in progress, with three already endorsed for purchase in the 2022/23 fleet replacement program for our Parking Services, and a four-week trial currently underway with an EV waste truck.”

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